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In the common parlance of the Kithain, Bedlam is a kind of madness that falls on the fae who leave the mortal world too far behind.

Overview Edit

Insanity is a very real danger to the Fae. They interact on a regular basis with things that aren't "real" and Glamour has a habit of changing a person's perceptions over time.

The storyteller has total control over Bedlam and may advance a character whenever he or she deems it appropriate while keeping in mind that a mad changeling can ruin a whole chronicle if it isn't handled with care. It must be a threat with teeth, though, if the balance between the real and fantastic worlds is to be kept.

Warning Signs Edit

There are some warning signs to keep in mind to determine of a changeling is in danger of falling to Bedlam. While no one sign will determine it, the more signs exhibited the more danger the faerie is in.

  • Glamour score is higher than both Willpower and Banality.
  • Spending more nights in freeholds than the mundane world. (Spending all your time in freeholds almost assures Bedlam.)
  • Owning more than one Treasure.
  • Interacting with more than three chimera, animate or inanimate, on a regular basis.
  • Constant Ravaging.
  • Having no mortal friends.
  • Having no mortal job or other attachment like school.
  • Living an almost exclusively nocturnal life.
  • Drinking alcohol, using drugs, or having sex to excess.
  • Spending more than half of your waking hours making art of some kind.
  • Having no mortal family.
  • Having no mortal possessions.
  • Being in a state of unrequited love

Thresholds Edit

Usually the Kithain pass through three thresholds of Bedlam but may occasionally leap from normalcy into complete madness without moving through these stages.

First Threshold Edit

The First Threshold is perception based. The changeling begins to have trouble discerning between the mundane and the chimerical world and to see chimerical things that aren't there. There are several flaws associated with this level of Bedlam. These flaws are annoying but tolerable. The descent into madness is usually slow.

  • Color Change - Everything changes color randomly or in patterns
  • Whispers - The fae 'hears' telepathic or audible whispers that impart secrets or prophecies or just unintelligible gibberish.
  • Dread - A feeling of dread overcomes the fae and shadows distort into horrid shapes.
  • Lights - Bright lights flash into and out of existence and surround people with auras or other illuminating effects.

Second Threshold Edit

At the Second Threshold things become more severe and even debilitating. Chimerical reality seems to become mundane reality and at this point the madness becomes obvious to companions and other changelings because the Glamour of the mad one is affected. he or she ceases to interact with anyone who doesn't fit their version of reality. Certain therapies can actually drive the mad one deeper into Bedlam as it can be difficult for others to know exactly what threshold they are at. On top of it the victim can regain lucidity at times and seem perfectly normal.

  • Don Quixote Syndrome - The mad one sees everything as from an ancient time or fantastic realm.
  • Delusions of Grandeur - The mad one sees everyone else as an underling only fit to serve them and expects everyone to go with everything that they say no matter how ludicrous.
  • Social Darwinism - The mad one begins to see everything in the world as predator and prey with themself as an apex predator. This madness can remain undetected for a long time but the victim will strike eventually and leave death in their wake.
  • The Walls Have Ears - The mad one believes everything, animate or inanimate, is alive and with a personality. This manifests in things like having conversations with appliances or apologizing to the food they eat.

Third Threshold Edit

At the Third Threshold the changeling becomes an unintelligible creature. They retain all the characteristics of their former stages of madness but suffer from more symptoms as well.

  • Berserker - The Fae attacks everyone around them with any handy weapon.
  • Autism - The mad one withdraws completely internally and no longer recognizes anything outside of themself.
  • Feral Cunning - The fae reverts to an animalistic state, becoming not a frenzied attacker but a cunning, predatory animal that no longer communicate and only seeks to kill or escape.
  • Perversity - The mad one descends to the depths of their psyche and performs inhuman acts that even the most depraved souls quiver at.

It is important to note that Threshold Three Bedlam is contagious... highly contagious. Any changeling exposed to them for long periods of time risks First Threshold Bedlam. Only the bravest or most foolish of fae try to treat these mad ones. Most are mercifully, if remorsefully, destroyed with hopes for a new incarnation.

Those fae at the Third Threshold also birth many Nervosa who share their characteristics and seek to protect their makers.

The End Edit

If left untreated Bedlam will entirely overtake a fae. They will lose all free will and pass into the world of Dreams. In fact, one night, while the changeling dreams, they will simply cease to be, disappearing entirely from the earth.

Treatment Edit

Treatment of at the First Threshold is exposure to Banality. Those Changelings affected at this level will often retire from Kithain society, leaving the court and household, and retreat to the mortal world, forgetting their faerie nature for a time. Eventually the dose of "reality" removes the effect of Bedlam and the Changeling can return. This process acts like a splash of cold water to the face.

At the Second Threshold, the treatment is a bit different, requiring magical healing with Primal arts and Banality therapy. As the madness has moved into the faerie soul, both their changeling and mortal self must be healed.

The only known cure for third Threshold Bedlam is to drink from the Cup of Dreams, an ancient treasure believed lost in the Dreaming. It is said some Dragons also posses the lore to do so. No Banality cure has ever worked and psychiatrists who have treated such have been confused by their resistance to drugs and therapy techniques.

References Edit

  1. CtD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, p. 8.
  2. CtD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 208-209.

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