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General Description Edit

Banality is disbelief, pure and simple — disbelief in what people cannot see and hear, disbelief in magic, monsters and faeries. Disbelief in the extraordinary. It deliberately cuts off the mind from anything that might challenge preconceived notions. It is the stamping-out of individuality and childish whim, which kills creativity and denies that anything exists beyond what is evident and explainable. Intended to insulate mortals from the terrors of the World of Darkness, Banality erases beauty and vibrancy and dulls fears.

Just as humanity's beliefs and dreams created the Dreaming, its disbelief shattered the magic, ripping the Dreaming apart from the mundane world. That same deadening force continues to plague Changelings. It can erode a Changeling's sense of her fae soul, and harm those objects and creatures made from Glamour, sometimes destroying them altogether. Inanimate chimera possessed by a Changeling (such as her clothing or weaponry) may be a little better protected. Those not actually among a Changeling's accouterments, however, may be disrupted when exposed to too much Banality.

Because so many people carry the seeds of Banality within them, animate chimera avoid humans whenever possible. Most fade from sight whenever any humans are about, hoping to preserve themselves. These chimera can also be dispelled by the touch of Banality, which wounds them, ripping away the Glamour of which they are made.

Some mortals have no creativity at all. These deprived beings, known as Autumn People, actually suck the Glamour out of whatever they touch, leaving grayness and Banality in their wake. Autumn People are greatly feared by Changelings (and intelligent chimera), for they are the antithesis of everything the Kithain hold dear. Persons with very high Banality, such as Autumn People or Dauntain (Changelings who have rejected their faerie natures), can sometimes destroy chimera merely by being nearby. Chimera are fragile and ephemeral in the face of Banality, as they usually have only a small bit of Glamour to sustain them. This is another reason why sentient chimera often desert the mundane world in favor of the Dreaming.

The Mists and Enchantment Edit

Banality has other effects as well. One of these is known as the Mists. When disbelief banished most of the fae from this world and destroyed much of the Glamour that sustained them, it also erected a "curtain" between the magical and the mundane. This nebulous, invisible shield keeps Changelings from remembering Arcadia, causing their former lives as true fae to fade from recollection. The Mists also veil the activities of Glamour from mortals, destroying their memories of any supernatural occurrences they may have witnessed.

Gameplay and Banality Edit

Television, doctors, lines at the bank, money machines, traffic, malls — all of these things carry the taint of Banality and negatively affect Changelings. Anything that removes the wonder from the eyes of a child, anything that teaches us not to believe in magic or faeries is a source of Banality in the world and is a bane to Changelings. The effect of Banality upon a character is measured by her temporary Banality rating (if it differs from your Permanent note it in your GMinfo). It describes to what extent the mundane world has tainted the character's ability to dream and to find wonder in the things around him.

The chart below is examples of banality ratings, remember, these aren't hard and fast and the GM has the last say in just what a place or person's banality rating is, but they provide a guideline by which to judge.

Area Sample Rating
Technocracy Lab/Heavily Weaver-tainted object or person
10
Dauntain/Autumn People
9
Inner City/Scientifically-minded individuals (without creativity)/Older Vampire
8
Most Places/Average Joe Human/Younger Vampire
7
Most Garou/Liberal Humans
6
Rural Countryside/Average Grump/Imaginative Human Adults
5
Untamed Wilderness/Minor wild or nature-based Caerns/Imaginative Human Adolescents
4
Young imaginative children/Average Wilder
3
Average Active Caern
2
The powerful wild or nature-based Caerns (as they defy belief and promote spiritual resonance)/Average Childing
1
Freeholds/The Dreaming
0

Effects of Banality Edit

  • If your character's temporary Banality score ever exceeds his permanent Glamour score, he begins to slip into the Mists, reverting to his mortal seeming and forgetting that he is Kithain. This generally only occurs when the character is not actively involved with other Changelings.
  • In order to enchant someone, a Changeling must first overcome the target's Banality (rolling Primal Urge + Glamour to do so) in the process of giving the target a Glamour-empowered gift. The difficulty number for the enchantment must be equal to or greater than the target's Banality rating. For every point of temporary Glamour infused into the gift, the target remains Enchanted for one day.
  • When a character attempts to affect a target with a cantrip, the target's Banality will affect the chance of success. The difficulty number for cantrips reflects the target's Banality; see Casting Cantrips.
  • Beings that have a Banality rating of 8 or higher actually physically affect Changelings. Changelings may become nauseous, experience headaches or just get very edgy and belligerent. This occurs especially if a Changeling spends any time in the company of high Banality people, and gets progressively worse the longer the Changeling stays. As a general rule, normal mortals and others with ratings of 7 or lower do not have this effect. See Resisting Banality, below.

Resisting Banality Edit

Changelings can naturally resist Banality 7 and lower, provided they are not fully immersing themselves in the mundane world; for extended immersion, see Nightmares, below. However, when confronted by people and objects of higher Banality (8+) for a meaningful amount of time (in passing doesn't need to be rolled for, but a private meeting with a Vampire may call for a roll), characters will be called to make a Primal Urge + Glamour roll. Characters without Primal Urge would roll their Glamour alone. If successful (only one success is needed), Banality is resisted, but see Nightmares, below. If not successful, the Changeling gains a temporary point of Banality (and potentially multiple points the longer they stay). A botch always results in a permanent point of Banality.

Freeholds help with resisting against Banality. For as long as you are within one, you won't gain Banality (unless the freehold itself falls to Banality).

Nightmares Edit

When a Changeling resists gaining temporary points of Banality, there is a backlash without fail. The severity of the Nightmare Effect is dictated by how many successes a character achieved on their Primal Urge + Glamour roll. The more successes, the less intense the backlash; see Primal Urge. Suggestions follow, but GMs and players are encouraged to be creative.

  • Terrible: All of your temporary Glamour departs at once.
  • Powerful: You are wracked with terrible pain and cry out in agony. Every time you think of this pain, you must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) to avoid experiencing it again. This lasts for a full month.
  • Moderate: You cannot see for a scene. The Storyteller says when the scene begins.
  • Mild: You are plagued with terrible migraines for the next month.
  • Tame: You have terrible dreams for the next five nights.

Gaining Banality Edit

  • Gain a temporary point of Banality whenever your character uses her own Banality to resist a cantrip.
  • If your character attempts to overcome a being's Banality and fails, she gains a temporary point of Banality. If she botches, she gains a permanent point of Banality.
  • Botching the casting of a cantrip always results in temporary Banality gain.
  • Destroying Treasures and some chimera can cause your character to gain temporary Banality.
  • Killing a Changeling's chimerical form causes your character to gain one temporary Banality; ending the Changeling's mortal life as well adds another point of Banality.
  • Spending time in the company of high Banality will rub off on your character and give her temporary Banality. As a guideline, a character will need to make one Glamour + Primal Urge roll per scene spent among people or places with Banality above 7. If the Changeling has spent several scenes with other characters that have Banality 7, she must also make a roll.
  • A GM may arbitrarily assign you temporary Banality if she thinks your character is being too mundane.
  • If your temporary Banality ever exceeds 10, you gain a permanent point of Banality.

Getting Rid of Banality Edit

  • When you gain a temporary Glamour point, you can choose to remove a temporary Banality point instead. The moment when you acquire the temporary Glamour point is the only time you can make this exchange.
  • With the Changeling wizard's approval, your character may decide to undertake a quest that will effectively reduce his permanent Banality. These quests usually involve an oath, which will bind the Changeling to the task and punish him for an unsuccessful completion. Once decided upon, the quest must be completed successfully, or the character gains a point of permanent Banality rather than losing one. Any one of three types of quests will serve this purpose, but the details of the quest must be approved by a Wizard (it would be included in the +learn to work off a point):
    • The Quest of Deed: The Kithain must swear to undertake some task, such as recovering a lost item or rescuing someone.
    • The Quest of Inspiration: An individual is chosen and the Changeling must spend the next several months or years (however long it takes) to bring that person to greatness. The Kithain may not interfere directly in any way; she may only inspire.
    • The Quest of Dreaming: A Changeling may attempt to bring the Dreaming into a mortal's life. An individual is chosen, generally one firmly entrenched in his own Banality. The Kithain must then bring the mortal back to living with a sense of joy, awe and wonder about the world around him, much like the angel did in "It's a Wonderful Life." This process could take years or a single night, as in "A Christmas Carol," depending on the cleverness of the Changeling. However, once a Changeling has brought a mortal around, that mortal becomes his responsibility, and if ever the mortal should fall back into the clutches of Banality, the Changeling has a duty to re-establish the miracle.

Non-Changelings and Banality Edit

Every character has a Banality rating chosen at Character Generation as dictated by the chart above. Non-Changelings do not have access to temporary Banality, as they don't (and can't) have the same kind of understanding and awareness of Banality as do Changelings. However, a character's Banality rating may fluctuate depending upon IC events. Some examples include:

  • Spending lots of time with Changelings, in a Freehold, being generally creative (lowers Banality)
  • Acting clinically, logically, scientifically, buying into mundane life and culture (raises Banality)

It is ultimately up to a player to keep track of this rating, but Wizards and GMs will be keeping an eye on things as well. If you feel your character has a compelling reason for moving up or down on the Banality chart above due to IC events, feel free to page or @mail the Changeling wizard to petition a change.

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