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View Full Version : [NWoD-Changeling] The Twin Freeholds



Archpaladin Zousha
2011-06-15, 07:24 PM
I'm planning a Changeling: The Lost game for another forum and was wondering if I could get some advice about setting up the place where everything's going to go down.

Deciding to write what I know for once, I'm setting the campaign in the Twin Cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm not entirely up to scratch on the concept of freeholds and Changeling politics, or politics in general for that matter, but I had the following idea as a sort of backstory:

Several years ago, the Twin Cities were one giant freehold, ruled using the Seasonal Court model. Since we Minnesotans often joke that there are only two seasons in our state, Winter and Road Construction, I thought that something similar to what the corebook says is happening in Miami with its Summer ruler happened in the Twin Cities with its Winter ruler. Unlike the situation in Miami, which is a civil war waiting to happen, Winter's declaration to remain in power caused the other Changelings to rise against it almost immediately. There was an extended shadow war amongst the Minnesota Lost, since the ruler made himself/herself hard to find, but ultimately was overthrown. The problem might have ended there, but the Winter War did more than create an upheaval in the status quo. It fractured the Changeling community. Some declared that the Winter War was proof that the Seasonal Court model didn't work, or was outmoded, and since the entire freehold was still recovering, nothing could be done from stopping this group from gaining more followers and eventually splitting Minneapolis off into its own freehold using the Diurnal Court model instead.

Today, the Twin Cities are a unique place. Never before have two different freeholds of differing Court systems been so close together, and all the Changelings there are still trying to figure out just what that means. Some view the opposite freehold as enemies, St. Paul viewing Minneapolis' secession as a betrayal, Minneapolis thinking St. Paul is mired in old tyranny. Some changelings from one city have friends in the other. Some think the borders are artificial and that the Twin Cities freehold is still the Twin Cities freehold, despite the new politics that the schism has introduced.

It is into this environment the PCs are thrust, Changelings from either city who've formed a motley for mutual defense, trying to navigate the now quite choppy political waters of the two freeholds, and worrying that the chaos the Winter War started will attract the eye of the Gentry. If they do come, will the Twin Cities stand united, or fall divided?

I think this is an interesting concept, but as it stands it feels underdeveloped. I implore the members of the Playground, and especially any fellow Minnesotans out there, to aid me in laying out the groundwork for a campaign (I don't actually LIVE in the Twin Cities myself, I live in Hastings, about a half-hour south of them).

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-06-16, 03:39 PM
No opinions? Is it fine as it is?

Super_Dave
2011-06-17, 10:43 AM
Personally, I think it sounds fascinating. Really ratchets up the tension, as PCs and NPCs attempt to navigate not just Court and Inter-Court politics, but conflicts between two entirely separate Court system as well.

What about the characters they'll meet? Who are the rulers of each Court? What are they like? Who are their enforcers and advisers? Mortal authorities? Are there other supernatural denizens of the Twin Cities?

I don't know much about Minneapolis/St. Paul, since I live in Michigan. Why are they called the Twin cities? Were they originally one city that broke into two?

In closing, I'll say that it's refreshing to find another Changeling/WoD player on these forums. I've tried posting homebrew stuff before, but haven't really gotten much of a response. This site leans pretty heavily towards D&D/d20 games.

Lord_Gareth
2011-06-17, 10:43 AM
Personally, I think it sounds fascinating. Really ratchets up the tension, as PCs and NPCs attempt to navigate not just Court and Inter-Court politics, but conflicts between two entirely separate Court system as well.

What about the characters they'll meet? Who are the rulers of each Court? What are they like? Who are their enforcers and advisers? Mortal authorities? Are there other supernatural denizens of the Twin Cities?

I don't know much about Minneapolis/St. Paul, since I live in Michigan. Why are they called the Twin cities? Were they originally one city that broke into two?

In closing, I'll say that it's refreshing to find another Changeling/WoD player on these forums. I've tried posting homebrew stuff before, but haven't really gotten much of a response. This site leans pretty heavily towards D&D/d20 games.

I've tried responding to some of your threads and not gotten a lot of replies back, Mr. Dave :p

comicshorse
2011-06-17, 10:52 AM
I'm afriad I know nothing about the area but with a set-up like that you've got to run a 'Romeo and Juliet' type-story. Two Changelings, deeply in love, ripped apart by the politics of their superiors.
Forbidden to meet, will they continue to see each other in secret ? Will they side with their Courts and battle each other ? With their Motleys help them or hinder them ?(Or try to remove temptation by murdering the other Changeling ?)

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-06-17, 04:12 PM
Personally, I think it sounds fascinating. Really ratchets up the tension, as PCs and NPCs attempt to navigate not just Court and Inter-Court politics, but conflicts between two entirely separate Court system as well.
That's one thing I wanted when I came up with the idea, and one of the reasons I need help with it, as it adds a whole new degree of complexity to the politics. Sometimes makes me wonder why the hell I'm even doing this since I simply don't GET politics and World of Darkness games tend to be ALL ABOUT the politics. :smalltongue:

What about the characters they'll meet? Who are the rulers of each Court? What are they like? Who are their enforcers and advisers? Mortal authorities? Are there other supernatural denizens of the Twin Cities?
Haven't quite worked out these details at the moment. The few details I've worked out are these:


All the current Kings and Queens are relatively new, as the Winter Court's coup began with the assassination of the other rulers, and when the war was finished, the Winter King was executed.
The Spring, Summer and Autumn rulers were the leaders of the rebellion against Winter.
The new Winter ruler was one of the "loyal" Winter courtiers who sided with the other Courts, and it's been made clear to him/her that both he/she and the Winter Court will suffer if they ever step out of line again. Furthermore, his/her power base is not secure as the division between Changelings who supported Winter's dominance and those who wanted to keep seasonal balance remains.
The Sun and Moon rulers are demagogues who view the time of the Seasonal Courts as over, but they're too divided because of the way the Diurnal Court works (power shifts every twelve hours and each side works to undo the work of the other) to mount a truly unified effort to bring St. Paul over to their way of thinking. Most of the work in that regard has been done by independent Changelings making nuisances of themselves by proselytizing, though there are rumors of plans for attacks.
Agents of the Dawn and Dusk Courts have also come from other cities, mostly to observe the situation and steer it towards change or entropy, depending on the court the Changeling is involved with.


Individual NPCs haven't really been developed yet. I'm not sure whether to include other supernaturals or not, as that may lead to even MORE confusion in the political spectrum, especially if Vampires get involved. Hunters may occasionally appear as friends or foes depending on how the PCs act and whom they have alliances with.

I don't know much about Minneapolis/St. Paul, since I live in Michigan. Why are they called the Twin cities? Were they originally one city that broke into two?
They were two separate cities relatively close together that eventually grew so large that they effectively became one giant city. St. Paul is the nominal capital of the state, but Minneapolis and St. Paul are so intertwined now that they're almost always referred to as the Twin Cities by locals (though the culture in the two cities can have surprising differences, St. Paul being more business-like and Minneapolis being more artsy).

In closing, I'll say that it's refreshing to find another Changeling/WoD player on these forums. I've tried posting homebrew stuff before, but haven't really gotten much of a response. This site leans pretty heavily towards D&D/d20 games.
Thanks, I've gotten some great advice on these forums so far. You just have to know where to look and who to talk to.

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-06-19, 01:27 AM
I've given it some consideration, and I'm thinking that the Diurnal Courts are too fractured to be effective in this instance. They don't present a unified enough front to stand free of St. Paul. So I came up with the following idea:

Instead of the Court of the Sun and the Court of the Moon, the Dawn and Dusk courts rule the Minneapolis freehold. Instead of handing over power at intervals like the seasonal courts, they share the power, having one ruler from each court who may or may not be married. There's contention about philosophies, but they're united in their interest to protect the Changelings there, the Dawn changelings acting as administrators and aides to make Minneapolis a better place, while the Dusk courtiers act as the freehold's police and military, seeking a glorious death defending their own from the inevitable war they think is coming.

Their philosophy is that the situation with the Winter coup showed that the Seasonal system doesn't work because the Courts are so focused on the survival and advancement of their own little cliques that nothing stays consistent. Each Court was too focused on their own agenda and belief about how to help the changelings in their care, and it was only a matter of time before one of them decided to force that viewpoint on the rest of them. Winter's claim to primacy in Minnesota due to seasonal fiat was an excuse for the takeover, not the reason for it.

For their part, the Seasonal Courts think the Dawn and Dusk Courts united in Minneapolis is a house-of-cards due to the competing philosophies of Hope and Fatalism, and wonder at how, without a rotating system of checks and balances the rulers don't become despots like the last Winter King did. Spring views them as misled, but well-meaning, and are the most open to diplomacy with them. Summer is PO at them for dividing the freehold and taking away so many changelings, leaving their manpower for defending the freehold reduced. Autumn views them as an interesting thought experiment, and believes them to be driven by the fear of another civil war. Winter doesn't have much of an opinion as Winter is primarily concerned with saving face after the successful coup and unsuccessful maintaining of it, though they feel upset about their presence since it gives the Summers an excuse to beat on them more because it was "their fault" the Dawn and Dusk courts got involved.

Super_Dave
2011-06-23, 03:24 PM
I've tried responding to some of your threads and not gotten a lot of replies back, Mr. Dave :p

You have? Yikes! I'm terribly sorry; I must not have been following the threads, or lost track of the response notifications in my cluttered inbox. I'll go and clean it out right now.

I never meant to snub you. If I did, I assure you, it was unintentional.

Super_Dave
2011-06-23, 03:32 PM
I definitely like your new version better, Zousha. The Diurnal Courts system never quite grocked for me. Twelve hours is not enough time to get much done, especially when you think about all the confusion that might arise if your watch was just a few minutes slow or fast.

But anyway, I really am impressed with the amount of thought you've put into this, especially the Seasonal Courts' perspectives on their new rivals across the border. But how do the new courtiers view the members of the Old Guard?

I know you haven't done the Contracts for the Dawn and Dusk Courts, but what are their primary emotions? What do sort of climate are they trying to cultivate here? What advantages do their respective Mantles confer, and what sorts of abilities will their Contracts give them?

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-06-23, 04:10 PM
I know you haven't done the Contracts for the Dawn and Dusk Courts, but what are their primary emotions? What do sort of climate are they trying to cultivate here? What advantages do their respective Mantles confer, and what sorts of abilities will their Contracts give them?

That's one thing I'm trying to figure out. At first glance, it seems like they shouldn't mesh at all.

The emotion of the Dawn Court is Hope: they believe that with planning, hard work and meaningful sacrifice they can make the change that changeling society needs. That the survival-focused mentality of most changelings doesn't work. Their mantles make them appear brighter and inspire feelings of hope and confidence in others around them. Their contracts are the Contracts of Potential, allowing them evoke change in other people by doing things like figuring out peoples' motives for making choices and altering them a certain way.

The emotion of the Dusk Court is Fatalism: they think everything is inevitably coming towards an inescapable doom. But rather than slip into apathy and depression, they stand and cry "We are here! We will fight!" That old poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, is practically their creed. I haven't read their Mantle stuff quite closely enough. Their contracts are the Contracts of Entropy, which allow them to stand heroically in the face of overwhelming odds.

At the core of this idea, the Minneapolis Freehold is made up of Changelings who became disillusioned with the Seasonal model. The Dawn and Dusk Courts were chosen because the Directional Courts seem a bit too foreign and traditional, rather than being a truly "new way." I haven't quite decided how the balance of power works, but it's something along the lines of the Dawn Court being administrators and aides, doing networking and social things for the betterment of the freehold, while the Dusk Court acts as the Freehold's army and police. They don't see eye to eye in terms of ideology, the Dawn Court feeling the Dusk Court is stubborn and negative, and the Dusk Court finding the Dawn naive and even delusional. Now that I'm looking at it closer, they're more like two separate, one-court freeholds that just happen to be operating on the same turf. They're not enemies simply because St. Paul is a more pressing threat to the both of them, and as long as they leave each other alone, they're civil.