The King is Dead

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

By Light, By Night – An urban fantasy setting for FAE‏ Part 1

By Light, By Night

You aren’t normal, are you?  There’s something off about you; something that prompts stares as you walk through the halls at school, something that prompts suspicious questions from your parents, something that makes it difficult to make friends.  You’re weird.  You’re strange.  You’re one of us.

The question now is do you join the Light or the Night?

By Light, By Night is an urban fantasy setting for FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE).  It is a setting where the anxieties of being a teenager are complicated by the fact that the protagonists are not actually human – they’re changeling fae, shape-shifting creatures of legend and myth hiding in plain sight in the modern world.  Life is hard enough when you don’t fit in, but what if you don’t even belong in this world?

The Changeling Way

What are changelings?

Characters in By Light, By Night are changelings, fairytale creatures (or fae) who have been swapped for mortal children and raised by humans.  The reasons for this cuckoo-like child-rearing are unknown.  No fae that your characters know have been to the Otherworld – the mysterious alternate dimension all fae come from – not even the adults. 

Most changelings resemble the fairies and monsters of European folklore, but don’t feel restricted to the archetypes listed below.  Your characters might be Cherokee little people (Nûñnë'hï), Japanese fox spirits (Kitsune), or Mesoamerican animal-people (Nagual).  The more conventional European fairytales are used as the basis for the accompanying example NPCs and setting because of their familiarity in English-language culture and media.  Feel free to mix in whatever cultural elements appeal to you.

Why did our parents do this to us?

There are many theories as to why changelings are sent to Earth.  Perhaps you’re all refugees from a genocidal war or invasion by elder horrors, maybe the Otherworld has been poisoned by the bad dreams of humans or the environmental destruction on Earth, or possibly the True Fae of your homeland have sent you all as sleeper agents for a fae takeover of the mortal world.  The importance of this mystery in your campaign is up to each group of players and GM; discovering the answer could be the central plot or it could be completely coincidental.  In any case, it will be more satisfying for the players if they get to riddle out the mystery themselves rather than receiving the answer from NPCs.

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