A dragons breath in the Mists
_See page 151 of Changeling the Dreaming_
Disbelief threatens the very existence of changelings. The curtain of doubt and rationality that humans raised centuries ago to explain away their fears not only separates the mortal world from the Dreaming, it also erodes the spark of creativity that gives rise to hope and imagination. Changelings call this universal negation of the creative spirit Banality, for it seeks to reduce the marvelous to the mundane, the miraculous to the ordinary, and the unexplainable to the impossible. Many older Kithain refer to this destructive force of disbelief and cynicism as the Endless Night or the Long Winter, for it epitomizes darkness, dreariness and relentless cold. It’s the death of the spirit.
Banality clouds the minds of mortals to the wonders of the world around them and blinds them to the possibilities for making their dismal lives better. Banality argues that things are as they are through a long, tedious process of cause and effect. Evolutionary processes and entropic decay only go in one direction, and all things will eventually come to a grinding halt with the death of the sun. Banality is the wet blanket of the cosmos. In more immediate terms, Banality prompts a jaded parent to destroy a child’s belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. It forces a talented student to lay aside his dreams of becoming a great writer or musician in favor of joining the work force because his advisors counsel him to make “realistic” decisions about his future.
Banality rules the World of Darkness, casting its icy shadow over urban landscapes and ruined countrysides. Contact with this malevolent force threatens to extinguish the flame of faerie magic. Held in its cold iron grip, the Dreaming fades and chimerical splendor devolves into tawdry wisps of foolery and idle imaginings. The Kithain fear Banality almost more than they fear anything else, even death, for on the day that the last shred of Glamour falls prey to its mindless rationality, the Dreaming disappears forever.
Even the faintest touch of humans can cause a place to become infected with Banality. the banality of a place is of little concern to the average Kithain; however, due to their closer ties to nature, the Banality of a place can have some adverse affect on the Nunnehi by making it more difficult for them to enter the spirit world. This Banality has no other ill effects on them, and it’s not noticeable for the most part. Extremely nasty Storytellers may wish to have a particularly Banal place raise the difficulty for casting cantrips or at the very least give the characters an uneasy feeling.
OOC: BANALITY – as a Temper on your character sheet
Your banality shows how much reality has tainted your fey spirit. While this of course is a terribly bad thing, proper application of banality has its uses.
Effects of Banality
- If your character’s temporary banality is higher than your permanent glamour, you begin to slip into the mists (the dreaded forgetfulness of your fey nature!). This usually occurs between stories, when you are separated from other kithain spirits.
- Because Banality is the antithesis of Glamour, it shields mortals from the effects of fey magic. In order to use glamour to cast a spell or enchant someone, you must first fight past your target’s banality. Most humans have a banality score of 7 or higher.
- Beings with a strong tie to banality have a strong effect on Changelings. Not only can their presence make you feel physically ill, their influence may also increase your banality the longer you stay in their presence! Beware these Autumn People!
- You can choose to use banality to resist the effects of fey magic. When this happens, you gain a temporary point of banality.
- Anytime you attempt to overcome someone’s banality and fail, the shock of the experience adds to your disbelief! You gain a temporary point of banality.
- Destroying magical creatures, objects, or another Changeling’s chimerical form increases your temporary banality, as you are essentially killing dreams, your very source of inspiration. Should you ever kill both a changeling’s chimerical and mortal form, you gain two banality.
- Leading a mundane lifestyle can also be the downfall of a Changeling. Fey that are too locked in the doldrums of the every day grey life of mortals will slowly gain banality as their fey nature slowly shrivels away and dies in a horrific manner.
- If you ever have more than 10 temporary points of banality, the temporary points are converted into a permanent point. This is the slow slide into the mundane…
Getting Rid of Banality
see page 152 of CtD
There are three methods of lowering one’s banality.
1) NIGHTMARE DIE
Anytime you are doomed to gain a temporary point of Banality you may choose to instead add a Nightmare die to your cantrip pool. See Advanced Casting for further details.
2) GLAMOUR TRADING
When you gain a temporary glamour, you may choose to use the point to remove a temporary banality instead of placing the glamour point in your pool.
3) THE GREAT QUEST
There is but one way to remove permanent banality from a Changeling soul, and that is the completion of a grand quest. The task is not easy, and failure may result in great punishment. These are The Quest of Deed, The Quest of Inspiration, and The Quest of Dreaming. Should one decide they wish to brave a great quest, they may discuss the desire with their Storyteller, who will determine whether the adventure is ready for the heavy burden of the quest.