Bedlam

Bedlam is a trait, rather like Banality. When the trait goes past 10, it resets to zero and the character moves into the next Threshold. The trait can go down as well as up, based on player decisions.

  • Remembrance: This is the biggest single influence on Bedlam. The more strongly you remember and are influenced by your past lives, the closer to Bedlam you are. The character’s Bedlam trait can never be lower than the character’s Remembrance.
  • Dweomers: Gaining a Dweomer from the Naming or Steampunk Arts adds Bedlam equal to the Dweomer’s rating. The Bedlam disappears when the Dweomer is used, but a permanent Dweomer gives permanent Bedlam.
  • Wassails: Each Wassail adds a point of Bedlam as long as it is in existence, two points for a Wyrd Wassail; these points only disappear if the Wassail is recanted or redeemed
  • Invoking the Dragon: This adds one Bedlam per success on the roll (multiplied for invoking the Dragon of Burning Gold, Madness or Doom)
  • Titles: Gaining a new Title rank moves the character deeper into the world of the Dreaming and increases Bedlam by one when it is received
  • Treasures & Chimeras: Owning Treasures or Chimeras creates a point of Bedlam when they are first acquired; powerful Treasures or Chimeras (rating 4+) create two points of Bedlam; epic Treasures might add a permanent point of Bedlam as long as they are owned.
  • Lost One Freeholds: A Bedlam point is gained for each hour spent in the Freehold of a Lost One
  • The Dreaming: Entering the Near Dreaming adds a point of Bedlam, as does entering the Far Dreaming and the Deep Dreaming. The Firchlis usually raises Bedlam by +1 as does entering a Madness Realm.
  • Kiths: Certain Kiths experience specific Bedlam as part of their Frailties
  • Arts: Gaining a new dot in an Art adds a point of Bedlam at the start of a Story after it is acquired; transforming yourself or being transformed by the Mutability Art creates a point of Bedlam
  • Merits & Flaws: Some Merits/Flaws may add to Bedlam each Story (eg Obsession, Wyld Mind, Echoes, Regeneration, Past Life, Faerie Eternity, Throwback, Cursed, Haunted, Poetic Heart, Winged)
  • Glamour: Starting a Story with Glamour trait higher than Banality adds a Bedlam point; gaining more temporary Glamour than your Glamour trait at any time adds a Bedlam point
  • Breaking Oaths: In addition to other penalties, breaking an Oath will add a point of Bedlam
  • Lifestyle: The Storyteller can add a point of Bedlam at the start of a Story for chaotic, unusual or alienated lifestyles: living entirely in chimerical reality, living in a sewer or a forest, having no mortal friends or contacts, being in a state of unrequited love.

Optional Rule: Resistance to Bedlam

Not all changelings suffer from Bedlam in the same way. Older Fae tend to handle Bedlam better than younger ones. The maximum Bedlam Points a character could amass before crossing a Threshold might depend on her Seeming.

Seeming Bedlam Threshold Score
Childlings 8
Wilders 10
Grumps 15
Wights 20

In addition, the character’s Bedlam Threshold might increase by +1 for each Oath or Quest she currently has active. Taking on the commitment of Oaths and Quests helps keep a character grounded. Breaking (rather than fulfilling) an Oath not only causes the character’s Bedlam Threshold to drop by one, it also adds a point of Bedlam. This can easily cause a character to cross a Threshold.

Removing Bedlam

The simplest cure for Bedlam is normal life. Between Stories, characters who resume their normal lives can roll Banality (difficulty 7): each success deducts a point of Bedlam but a botch adds points of Temporary Banality instead; dots in the new Background Anchor can be added to the successes. Merits/Flaws which attach a character to the mortal world (such as Ward or Political Ties) might reduce the difficulty of the roll by -1. Noble Titles which tie the changeling to the Fae world should add +1 to the difficulty for ranks •• and ••• and +2 for ranks •••• and •••••.
A riskier strategy is the Fading. If the character retreats into her mortal Seeming for the full duration indicated on the Mists chart (p208) then all non-permanent Bedlam is washed away. This also happens when a Changeling experiences chimerical death.

At the end of their Seasonal Hallows a character can choose to remove all accumulated Bedlam Points.

Optionally a changeling might try to reduce Bedlam Points through meditation. This requires a roll with Stamina+Enigmas (difficulty 8); each success can be used to cancel one Bedlam Point out with a Temporary Glamour point; botches actually increase Bedlam Points.

Bedlam Thresholds

Once your Bedlam Points go past your Bedlam Threshold they re-set to zero (although the Remembrance trait and possessing powerful Treasures or high traits might make it re-set higher than this). The character enters the next ‘threshold’ of Bedlam:

  • 1st Threshold “*Burning Gold*”: The character starts to perceive the world differently, sensing things from the Dreaming rather than the mortal world: colours change, shapes morph, voices speak from nowhere
  • 2nd Threshold “*Madness*”: The character becomes insane, gripped by unshakeable delusions or hallucinations
  • 3rd Threshold “*Doom*”: The character becomes psychotic, behaving in an unpredictable and destructive way

If a character passes beyond the 3rd Threshold, he is devoured by the Dreaming, gone forever.
Reducing Bedlam points back to zero doesn’t cause a character to retreat back to an earlier Threshold. More strenuous healing magic is needed.

Treating Bedlam

  • Primal •••• (Heather Balm) can cure 1st Threshold Bedlam but both the Actor and Fae Realms are needed, because both the mortal and immortal soul is being treated. Chimera with the Redes of both Heal (p222) and Wyrd (p223) can do this too.
  • The Fading is a cure for more serious Bedlam. In game terms, spending downtime in Winter Work will cure 1st Threshold Bedlam or turn 2nd Threshold into 1st Threshold. Fading during a Story (or Chimerical Death) will have the same effect.
  • Other forms of psychotherapy might cure 1st or 2nd Threshold Bedlam, but only at the cost of gaining the changeling a Permanent Banality point.
  • Naming ••••• (Reweaving) can always cure Bedlam so long as the victim’s True Name is known and the Actor and Fae Realms are both used. One success is needed for 1st Threshold, three for 2nd Threshold and 5 for 3rd Threshold.
  • At the end of their Seasonal Hallows a character can choose to reduce the severity of Bedlam by one Threshold.

Bedlam & the Enchanted

Mortals do not experience Bedlam, instead they become Dream-Struck but the mechanic is the same. Mortals gain Bedlam points when they are enchanted, one for each point of Glamour used to enchant them. Any time they gain extra points of Temporary Glamour, they gain extra points of Bedlam. They also gain Bedlam for the things that affect Kithain, but they are much less likely to own Treasures, receive Titles, etc. Mortals tend to have a high Banality rating so it’s easy for them to expel Bedlam points by returning to their old lives but a botched roll instantly cancels out their enchantment.

Kinain are similar, but their Faerie Blood Background can be used as a “soak roll” whenever they would gain Bedlam points from being given Glamour, discounting one point of Bedlam for each success rolled. However, their Bedlam rating can never be less than the number of Fae Gifts they possess (rather like Remembrance affects changelings).

New Background: Anchor

Bedlam

Tales of New Camelot Jon_Rowe