Selkies are skinchanger fae, able to assume the form of a seal thanks to a chimerical sealskin.
Selkies are neither fae of the Overwater (like most Kithain) nor of the Undersea (like the Merfolk or Morganed), but of the continually shifting shoreline. They are also caught between two forms: seal and human, never precisely one or the other.
They are creatures of contradictions. Playful and practical; shy and outspoken. They are highly sexual but practice neither the lusty promiscuity of the Satyrs nor the courtly love of the Sidhe. Their appeal is both sensual and romantic, and once they chose a mate, they will stay with that one until called away by their other love and other nature. A selkie is at once both seal and human, and if taken too far from the shoreline, they will pine away and their faerie portion will die.
Unlike pooka, or even other shape changers like werewolves, selkies are skin-changers. When one takes human shape, they physically put aside their sealskin. Selkie skins, like all fae things, have mortal seemings, appearing as everything from a sealskin belt or stole, to a greatcoat or even a wetsuit. A selkie's skin contains their Glamour, as well as their fae essence. If that skin is lost, stolen, or taken by force, they can use no fae magic until they regain it. If someone destroys a selkie's seal skin, their fae self will die, and the mortal may as well. Luckily, seal skins are resilient things and the life and Glamour within may only be destroyed by Cold Iron or fire. Cold iron, in fact, does no damage to a selkie's fae aspect unless it damages their sealskin, though it may still do considerable damage to their mortal form.
When a selkie dies, their sealskin is passed on to someone else, usually a kinain or someone who loves the sea, who then becomes a new selkie. The new selkie soon learns the trick of changing their skin, as well as how to pass the Glamour on to a skin of their own choosing. Occasionally a seal with selkie ancestry learns to shed its skin and take on human shape, but this is less common. Such fae are greeted with great joy, not only because of their rarity, but because their coming ashore creates a new sealskin to keep the Glamour of the kith alive.
In mortal seeming, selkies are sleek and attractive, their only telling marks their large, liquid eyes and the slight webbing between their fingers and toes. In fae mien, these traits are somewhat exaggerated and they tend to drip chimerical water wherever they go. The seeming of their seal form appears as a normal harbor or harp deal, though those with faerie kenning may see through this guise with a successful Wits + Kenning roll, difficulty 6.
- Childlings are happy and playful, sunning themselves on beaches and playing on the shoreline. Older selkies keep a watchful eye on these pups, and usually encourage them to stay at home, so long as home is appropriate (near the ocean with easy access to the beach).
- Wilder selkies travel the coastlines, both with their seal and human kin. Romances of the "love in every port" are common, though these are generally extended relationships, not satyrish one-night-stands.
- Grumps are very rare among the selkies. When a selkie finds themself growing too Banal, they will usually pass on the sealskin (and Glamour) to a younger, more vital heir.
Selkies are are only found on the coastlines. In older days, they tended to take jobs as sailors or fishermen but modern times have made surfing, sunbathing, and beach-combing far more popular. This, of course, is when they're not spending their lives as seals.
Birthrights and Frailties Edit
- Affinity: Nature
- Seal's Beauty: All selkies possess a natural magnetism. In game terms, they gain a +2 on Charisma when interacting with someone who might be sexually or romantically attracted to them and only in situations where animal magnetism applies. It's good for Seduction and Leadership but has few uses for Intimidation or Subterfuge.
- Ocean's Grace: A silk may lower the difficulty for all Dexterity rolls by 2 when in the water and can never botch a Swimming roll, even in human form. However, the difficulties for all Dexterity rolls are at +1 when on dry land.
- Longing of the Ocean Shore: Selkies are creatures of the shoreline. For every day they remain away from the ocean shore, they gain a point of temporary Banality until their Banality exceeds their Glamour and they forget their selkie nature. They may erase this Banality, even permanent Banality, by spending a day in their altershape for each point gained, but selkies lost to their fae nature can only be awakened by forcibly placing them in their sealskin and dropping them into the sea. This abrupt change runs the risk of Bedlam, though it is often the only therapy that works. Sadly, even this is often not enough.
- Seal Coat: If a selkie's sealskin is destroyed, their fae self is destroyed forever. In addition, the mortal that remains must make a Stamina roll (difficulty 8). Failure means the character enters a coma; a botch indicates the character dies.
Selkies are skin-changers, not shapeshifters. They change from mortal seeming to seal whenever they put their skin on and immerse themself in seawater. The change is automatic and requires no roll or expenditure of Glamour. If they wish to regain human form, they must loose the corner of the skin (undo a button, unzip a wetsuit collar, etc...) and break the ocean's surface. Without their skin, they cannot take seal form or perform any other changeling magic apart from Kenning or their Birthrights. The connection between a selkie and their skin is so strong, however, that they can sense its location with a Wits + Kenning roll, difficulty 7. As a selkie's sealskin is their skin, they can also feel it any time it is touched or damaged, wherever it is.
Views of Others Edit
- Boggans - They love their work the way selkie love the sea, but they gossip worse than mermaids and fishwives. The way to live life is to live it, not talk about the other people do.
- Eshu - Wonderful storytellers and travelers, but few have seen the beauty of the Undersea.
- Nockers - They're great for repairing a boat engine or mending a sail, but so what? There are dozens of human craftspeople just as clever.
- Pooka - Listen, Pooka are shapeshifters and Selkies are skin-changers. There's a great deal of difference between the two. Plus, there are better pastimes than trying to annoy the sidhe.
- Redcaps - They're sharks that walk on two legs and wear little red hats.
- Satyrs - They should all just buy themselves inflatable dolls. For all they know of love making, it would make as much difference.
- Sidhe - The only fae more full of themselves are the merfolk, though the sidhe would die of they ever found out.
- Sluagh - So they want to be mysterious. Let them.
- Trolls - There's no reason they should fight for the sidhe, or even fight anybody. A few are even sensible enough to realize it.