Wassailing

One of the most far-reaching powers of the Fae is their ability to make human dreams a reality. This dream-made-real is known to the Kithain as a ‘wassail’ after the Old English word for a blessing. Most wassails retain their power only for a short time, but when mortals and changelings swear Oaths to one another a wassail can become real indefinitely.

Each changeling has their own method of wassailing traditionally linked to their Kiths or Sidhe House/ Storytellers might allow PCs to adopt any Wassail at character creation – there are Satyr hearthlorists and Trollish dreamforgers. Characters with a high Gremayre can have multiple Wassails, an extra one for each dot above 3 if the specialisation ‘Wassailing’ is taken.

Player characters might start the game with a Wassail in existence and a Dreamquest Oath connecting it to them. This is represented by the Wassail Background. The Wassail will be linked to a NPC Dreamer who can use it.


Dreamforging (Nockers, House Dougal)

This involves manufacturing something, often armour, weapons, jewellery or machines: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the device and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer turns it on, wears it or wields it.
System: Roll Dexterity+Crafts
Dreamforged Wassails are often used to create Treasures that imitate Cantrips or Redes. Flaws are usually Psychological (obsession, overconfident) or Supernatural (echoes, geas).

Wayland the Nocker forges a young man a sword that strikes terror into enemies (treat as Intimidating Stance Merit or Chicanery-4) but also compels him to answer any challenge with a fight (geas).


Gentilesse (Satyr, House Fiona)

This involves using romance to elevate and ennoble a Dreamer: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested into their own form, transforming their own appearance or that of their offspring.
System: Roll Appearance+Leadership
Gentilesse Wassails are often used to transform a character’s appearance (eg extra dots in Attributes or Abilities or Merits), however the Wassail can also be used to conceive a child who will be born with these advantages. Flaws are usually Mental (amnesia, confused) or Supernatural (geisa, echoes) but can be Changeling Ties (enemy, notoriety).

Swami the Satyr seduces a young girl, blessing her with the power to heal at a touch; however, she has a Mystical Prohibition that prevents her from telling anyone she has this power or offering to use it unless asked.


Greenkeeping (Pooka, House Liam)

This involves tending a plant or taming an animal: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the plant or animal and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer comes into contact with the fully grown plant or animal.
System: Roll Charisma+Survival
Greenkeeping Wassails are often used to create Chimerical Companions (as the Background or Merit) or plants which can heal, transport or trap characters. Flaws are usually Physical (allergic, short) or Ties (hunted, ward).

Dagonet the Pooka trains a bird to be a talking companion for a young girl (treat as Chimerical Companon-2) but it brings with it an Enemy Flaw of a feral cat that stalks them both.


Hearthlore (Boggans, House Leanhaun)

This involves cooking a meal or brewing a drink or potion: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the food and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer eats or drinks the product or gives it to another to eat or drink.
System: Roll Charisma+Crafts
Hearthlore Wassails are often used to heal or poison, transform the Dreamer’s appearance or grant strengths or immunities (flying, invisibility, water breathing). Flaws are usually Awareness (blindness, deafness) or Physical (deformity, mute).

Ursula the Boggan brews a young girl a potion that makes her stunningly beautiful to capture a boy’s attention (treat as Sex Appeal Merit or Sovereign-3) but also makes her Mute.


Runelore (Trolls, House Eiluned)

This involves incising enchanted runes onto an object: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the symbols and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer reads the runes.
System: Roll Intelligence+Linguistics
Runelore Wassails are often used to empower a place or object, create a Treasure or impose some compulsion or trap. Flaws are usually Supernatural (mystical prohibition, surreal quality) or Psychological (compulsion, shy).

Bors the Troll incises runes of protection on a young girl’s car (treat as Crack Driver Merit or Primal-3) but also makes her Obsessed with driving it.


Shroudwhisper (Sluagh, House Balor)

This involves a séance that summons a dead spirit: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the summoning and the wassail takes effect when the ghost arrives.
System: Roll Manipulation+Enigmas
Shroudwhisper Wassails are often used create Chimerical Companions (as the Background or Merit) or unleash ghostly powers that grant the Dreamer new abilities or immunities (seeing the dead, crossing the Shroud, telling the future). Flaws are usually Supernatural (echoes, haunted) or Psychological (dark secret, nightmares).

Fergus the Sluagh summons the ghost of a young man’s brother (treat as Chimera-3 or Ghostly Companion Merit) but also gives the young man a Dark Secret (he discovers he is responsible for his brother’s death).


Talecraft (Eshu, House Ailil)

This involves teaching someone a song, spell or riddle: the Dreamer’s Glamour is invested in the words and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer recites the words.
System: Roll Manipulation+Performance
Talecraft Wassails are often used to transform the Dreamer’s appearance or grant strengths or immunities (flying, invisibility, water breathing) or to summon allies. Flaws are usually Psychological (nightmares, phobia) or Supernatural (echoes, cursed).

Palomides the Eshu teaches a young ballet dancer a song that makes her a talented dancer (treat as Perfect Balance Merit or Wayfare-2) but also gives her terrifying nightmares of failing her audition.


Warspite (Redcaps, House Gwydion)

This involves teaching the Dreamer a combat manoeuvre or war-cry and the wassail takes effect when the Dreamer attacks someone.
System: Roll Wits+Intimidation
Warspite Wassails are often used to harm an enemy or destroy something, but can also transform the Dreamer’s enemy’s appearance or personality. Flaws are usually Psychological (sadism, vengeance) or Physical (deformity, one-armed).

Brunor the Redcap teaches a young gangster a fu-move that causes an opponent to turn to stone (treat as Primal-5, Wyrd) but also turns his arm to stone (treat as One-Armed Flaw).


Mechanics

To carry out a Wassail a changeling must bring a Dreamer to Epiphany by Reverie, Ravaging or Rhapsody and convert the Glamour generated into a magical effect. The changeling must roll Attribute+Ability to do this and the number of successes is the maximum number of points that can be used in the Wassail – any remainders are lost, the changeling cannot acquire them. If not enough successes are rolled to empower the Wassail then all the points are still lost.

The Dreamer must be Enchanted to take advantage of the wassail, otherwise the Glamour is lost at the end of the Scene. Sometimes this means the changeling must enchant the Dreamer when the Epiphany takes place; however some wassails might not occur until some time after the Epiphany (eg the Redcap’s Warspite) in which case the wassail can ‘hang’ unused until the Dreamer is next enchanted. If the character ever ceases to be a Dreamer by becoming more Banal then the wassail is lost and the Glamour is gone forever.

See the Wassail Background for advice about the powers of wassails and examples of wassails of different power. Wassails can justify almost any magical effect, but the Storyteller is the final arbiter of what can and what cannot be accomplished. The wassail typically has the same effect as a Cantrip, Merit or Background (especially Chimerical Companion, Chimerical Construct or Treasure) with a value equal to the number of Glamour points invested. The wassail lasts for one Scene only then is gone and all the Glamour is lost.

Wassails are still bound by the laws of the Dreaming:

  • No Wassail can make a Pooka tell the truth, a Sidhe look foolish, a Sluagh shout or a Troll break his word
  • No Wassail can enter Arcadia, cancel the Mists or bring back a Sidhe from death
  • Oaths cannot be broken or cancelled by a Wassail nor can True Love or True Faith be created or destroyed

If there isn’t enough Glamour to power the wassail, it fails and all the Glamour is lost.

Wassail Flaws

Each Wassail also produces Flaws equal in magnitude to the number of points put into the Wassail itself. For example, the beanstalk described above might be attached to the Enemy Flaw, if it emerges into the Near Dreaming in the home of a hostile giant.

Flaws don’t usually last any longer than the Wassail itself, although some might last until the Enchantment itself wears off. A few might still be around if the Dreamer is re-enchanted. The Storyteller should make powerful and far-reaching Wassails have long-lasting Flaws.

Most Flaws are poetic or quirky rather than debilitating. However, wassails created from Ravaging or Rhapsody tend to be more destructive and their Flaws are often humiliating, painful or downright dangerous.

Wyrd Wassails

Wassails that have Wyrd effects need Glamour to perform them; this means Glamour above and beyond the cost of the power must be put into the Wassail. Wyrd Wassails require TWICE as much Glamour as ordinary Wassails, which is why few Fae undertake to create powerful ones.

Wyrd Wassails can function even if the Dreamer is not enchanted. However, they often produce Wyrd Flaws that affect the Dreamer even after the Wassail is over; some affect the Dreamer even after any Enchantment wears off (eg One-Hand, Blind).

Wassails & Bedlam

Using the new Bedlam Rules, creating a Wassail earns the changeling a point of Temporary Bedlam and creating a Wyrd Wassail earns two points. Swearing the Oath of Dreamquesting means that the Bedlam Points created by the Wassail cannot be removed – they are permanent Bedlam Points. Recanting or Redeeming a Wassail removes the Bedlam Points but breaking the Dreamquest Oath earns the oathbreaker a Bedlam Point anyway. If you use the conventional Bedlam rules, then regular Wassailing is a Warning Sign for Bedlam (cf p209).
h5. Fae & Wassails

Although the wassail is only usable by the Dreamer, the changeling can still take advantage of this so long as he maintains the relationship with the Dreamer. For example, if a Satyr wanted to enter the Near Dreaming but didn’t have a Rath or the Arts to open one, he could still use Greenkeeping to grow a beanstalk that reached up into the Dreaming (a 3 point Wassail) and so long as the mortal agreed to use it, the Satyr could accompany the mortal through into the Dreaming.

Changelings in their Winter Hallows can ‘steal’ Wassails. If the wassail is a physical object, the Changeling can take it and use it himself. If the Wassail is am ability, the Changeling can use the ability too. This only applies to one-off Wassails – if the Dreamquest Oath is used to make a Wassail permanent the Changeling cannot steal it without breaking the Oath. The Flaw for the Wassail still applies to whoever uses it.

Kithain who use Rapture to generate their own Glamour could channel that Glamour into a Fae Wassail, creating their own Chimera, Treasure or powerful ability. However, they too gain a Wassail Flaw.

House Scathach & Wassailing

House Scathach are said to have mastered their own form of wassailing, but its secrets were lost when they took the Changeling Way. Instead, characters of House Scathach with a dot in Gremayre learn any one wassailing technique at character creation.

Wassails & the Prodigals

It is up to the Storyteller whether vampires, werewolves, mages etc can receive Wassails. In general, any being with a Banality less than 8 is a Dreamer and can be mused or ravaged and therefore wassailed. This might include Malkavian vampires, Fianna werewolves and some Traditional Mages and Marauders. Any being with the Faerie Affinity Merit is also a candidate. However, these supernaturals inhabit their own dream and instinctively resist attempts to manipulate their essence: they should receive a resistance roll against the changeling’s Wassailing roll, using their key mystical trait (Gnosis for werewolves, Arete for mages, vampires will roll Willpower or Thaumaturgy). Wassails will not alter their essential condition, such as curing vampirism, removing Clan or Tribe weaknesses or producing Golconda or Ascension.


The Oath of the Dreamquest

For your service, I give you back your dream; may your dream be a light in your darkness, a shield to your shoulder, a sword to your foes. So long as you strive to [object of quest] I uphold your dream with the power within me

With this dramatic oath a changeling makes a Wassail more permanent, in exchange for imposing a quest on the Dreamer. The oathmaker must spend a permanent point of Willpower to do this, whereupon the Wassail and its Flaw become permanent; for a Wyrd Wassail, the oathmaker must also spend a permanent point of Glamour. The oathmaker must be the creator of the Wassail and the Dreamer must be present and Enchanted at the time.

Often, oathmakers insist the Dreamer swears an oath too, but the Dreaming does not enforce oaths on mortals unless they are Kinain or have the Faerie Affinity Merit, in which case they can swear the Oath of Accepted Burden, Guardianship or even Long Road or Crossed Blades (C:tD pp211-2)

Unseelie Fae will, of course, gain a point of Temporary Banality if they swear an oath to a mortal. They can avoid this by switching to their Seelie Legacy, but they need to be in the same Legacy when they create the wassail as when they swear the Oath.

Because Dreamers cannot be oathbound so easily, there is always a risk they will keep the Wassail and use it for their own ends (although the Wassail only works for them – they cannot pass it on to another). The oathmaker can recant the Wassail: they gain back the Willpower point but not the Glamour point; any temporary Glamour invested in the Wassail is lost and the changeling gains temporary Banality for destroying something of the Dreaming.

If the Dreamer completes the quest, then the changeling has a choice. The changeling can recant the Wassail, gaining back the Willpower and the Glamour at no cost and earning Temporary Glamour and/or Dross equal to twice the base amount originally invested (or three times the base amount for Wyrd Wassails). Alternatively the changeling can redeem the Wassail, gaining back the original Willpower and Glamour only.

A redeemed Wassail is now a fully independent magical item, creature, ability or Treasure. The original Dreamer can continue to use it but it can also be passed on to others, although there can only be one effective version in use at a time. This means a Dreamer could give his redeemed Wassail sword to his friend to use – or to the changeling! A redeemed Warspite manoeuvre, Talecraft song or Runelore inscription could be taught to someone else, but then the original owner forgets it and it no longer works for them.

A redeemed wassail can normally be used once per Story and its effects last for up to a Scene. However, any extra Glamour invested in the wassail, above and beyond what was necessary to produce its effect, could be used to create a more versatile power, one that can be used more often or having longer-lasting effects. See the Wassail Background for more information on this.

Wassailing

Tales of New Camelot Jon_Rowe