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Frailties are supernatural prohibitions or weaknesses that comes with high rating of Wyrd.
As a changeling becomes more infused with the power of Glamour, some of its stranger rules and limitations begin to apply to her as well. These quirks of her fae nature are called frailties. Frailties come in two forms: taboos and banes.
A taboo is a behavioral restriction that either compels or prohibits a changeling to commit certain acts in specific situations. A bane is something that causes a changeling injury, usually an item but occasionally a type of person or situation. Damage caused by banes, both major and minor, automatically bypasses all forms of armor or magical protection and cannot be healed by any means until the character is removed from the presence of the bane.
A character may attempt to take action against the source of the frailty rather than avoid it or flee its presence, but to act so directly against something that weakens her so badly is extremely taxing on a character.
This level represents a frailty that is highly inconvenient but unlikely to come up often in daily life. Taboos at this level tend to be triggered only by very specific circumstances, for example, while banes are usually uncommon items or situations that won't be casually encountered very often. Examples of minor taboos include being forced to pick up and count spilled grains of rice, or being unable to eat anything unless given verbal permission by one's host.
Minor banes might be a painful aversion to the sound of church bells, exposure to wolfsbane or hearing a one's name said backwards. A character may resist the compulsion surrounding a minor taboo for one scene with the expenditure of a Willpower point, while exposure to a minor bane causes one automatic level of bashing damage per turn until the bane is removed or the changeling can escape its presence.
This level involves taboos that are substantial impediments to important aspects of daily life, and that cannot easily be avoided in the course of a normal day. Likewise, major banes are typically much more common substances or circumstances, and will rapidly prove fatal to the unfortunate character who is exposed to them. Examples of major taboos could include being forced to walk backward at all times, inability to go outside while the moon is in the sky or being compelled to perform a favor for anyone who recites the character's true name.
Major banes might include such things as being burned by religious items, feeling pain in the presence of children or that destroying an effigy of the character will cause him actual injury. Breaking a major taboo requires the expenditure of a Willpower point per turn the character acts against this custom, while exposure to a major bane inflicts one automatic level of lethal damage per turn until the changeling flees the bane's presence.
Needless to say, most changelings keep their frailties as secret as possible, lest their enemies find ways to use these limitations against them. Players and Storytellers should work together to design frailties that are interesting and appropriate for each character, though the Storyteller has the final say on what frailties are acceptable. Should ideas prove hard to come by, a wealth of potential frailties can be found in folktales, legends and myths, not to mention scholarly works about those same subjects.
It is important to note that while these drawbacks should definitely present a challenge to overcome, they should always enhance players' enjoyment of the story, not make it feel like a chore to play their characters. With that in mind, create frailties that are intriguing, that embody the character's personal history and attitude, that make sense when one considers who the character is and what he is best known for. Handled correctly, frailties can add a fascinating layer to a character, as knowledge of a great weakness can throw a character's other qualities into sharp relief.
- Changeling: The Lost (Rulebook) , p. 16, 87