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A Token is an object infused with a measure of fae power.
Some things that linger in the Hedge or Faerie gain a measure of dark magic. Even the simplest of items -- a thorn broken off a gnarled vine, a brass knob unscrewed from a Fae Keeper's many cabinets, a shoelace stolen from a Hedge-tangled corpse -- may feature a mote of mad sorcery within it.
A few changelings dare to exploit these objects and use that magic for their own gains. These items, known generally as tokens (though some glibly refer to them as "souvenirs"), provide the Fae with a curious trick or weird enchantment - it is said one might even be able to purchase a Token Limb for the right price. The most powerful of these tokens, however, are deliberately crafted by the Others themselves, literally tokens of old promises that bring the Fae to fulfill old obligations with powerful magic, no matter who now holds the object.
But it's not all gold spun from straw. The magic inside a token is some of the same magic that pumps inside the hearts of the True Fae, and while powerful, it is in part corrupt. Every token comes with a drawback, a small curse or additional cost that use of the token invokes. A feather in a changeling's hair may put a spring in her step, but it may muddy her thinking. A pair of gold-rimmed eyeglasses do help her see great distances, but when she wears them she is totally deaf. For every benefit there is a price to pay, a toll taken by the whimsy of Faerie magic.
Level One Tokens - a one-dot token is a minor, low-power item whose benefit is either very meager, or only usable in specialized situations. One-dot tokens make for common bartering items among the changelings of the freehold, generally given as the result of a pledge. Other changelings bring such items back from the Hedge themselves.
Level Two Tokens - tokens of two dots tend to be more versatile, or offer even stronger benefits in specialized situations. Changelings don't usually give these out as parts of easy pledges, though these tokens may be common currency among changelings of the Courts or within certain entitlements.
Level Three Tokens - These potent tokens tend to offer benefits above and beyond what a changeling can achieve with her own abilities. Such items aren't taken or given out carelessly -- they often form the lynchpin of powerful pledges.
Level Four Tokens - Tokens at this level tend to possess widely applicable, relatively potent powers. Such items are not given out with any frequency, and are not easily claimed from their respective realms of origin. Noteworthy service to the Court over a long period of time may earn a changeling a token of this power.
Level Five Tokens - Tokens of such puissance are truly mythic and gifted only to kings, heroes and other potent figures of the freehold. These tokens are highly prized for their power.
Tokens, when brought into this world from the Hedge or from Faerie, do not appear as they necessarily would have in those places. In this world, the token appears mundane, almost purposefully uninteresting -- metal has no shine to it, wood seems dinged or splintered, paper or parchment frays at the edges.
Much as changelings have a supernatural seeming, though, so do tokens. When active, a token reveals (only to changelings) a measure of its magic. The token may appear as it did in the Hedge or in Arcadia, or it may reveal new glimpses of odd magic. It's rarely an extreme shift (though some particularly power tokens offer staggering shifts in perception); a ratty baseball hat taken from a body in the Hedge doesn't become a gleaming crown when active.
It still looks like a baseball hat, but now it looks new, pristine, its colors bright, perhaps with a strange logo representing no familiar team. The baseball hat may offer non-visual changes, too -- the changeling can smell fresh popcorn, or hear the sharp crack of a bat against a fastball. Of course, there's often a dark element to the token's mien, too -- the brim of the baseball hat may cast a very dark shadow over the changeling's face, or it may wet her hair with blood when worn. Bad magic taints the mien in some small but noticeable way.
Activating a TokenEdit
Using a token occasionally requires a physical action on the part of the changeling -- stroke it three times, whisper a rhyme, drizzle a drop of blood upon it -- though many simply require the changeling's presence and desire. Most tokens have a power that is used upon activation. To activate a token, the player rolls the character's Wyrd. Willpower may not be spent to add dice to this roll. Alternately, the player may spend a point of Glamour to activate the token's power automatically, fueling the enchantment within with her own magic.
Every token has a catch, a dread cost that allows anybody to use the token. This means that a human, mage, vampire, werewolf or Promethean can use the token and gain its benefit without rolling Wyrd or spending Glamour. It also means that a changeling can gain the token's benefit without rolling Wyrd (perhaps she has too few Wyrd dice to achieve a reasonable rate of success) or spending Glamour (perhaps she doesn't want to spend her Glamour, or has too little of it to go around).
The catch is always a cursed effect. By giving up the Wyrd roll or Glamour cost that a token demands, the token will still work but does so only by taking a severe toll upon the user. Every token has its own catch. Note that, in addition to the catch, the token's drawback still occurs. Both negative effects go off, and the token's benefit occurs automatically without any Wyrd roll or points of Glamour.
Some catches involve a consciously paid cost (involving pain or penalties). Other tokens will take their grim tolls out of the character's hide without asking. It should also be noted that tokens resist any sort of alteration to their form from outside sources. A mage who uses magic to change a token's shape or a werewolf who attempts to dedicate a token to her body may find that they have accidentally destroyed the token or increased the power of its drawback.
Not every token contains enough magic to last. Some are strictly one-use items whose magic fades after its initial sorcery. Changelings call these tokens Trifles. A changeling activates a trifle in the same way that she would a token, except that there is no drawback. Only changelings can use trifles; no catch exists that allows others to access the enchantment within.
Creating a trifle out of an item in the Hedge or from Faerie requires only that a single Willpower point be expended in harnessing and directing the magic. All trifles require some kind of physical action to activate or "release" the magic.
Creating a TokenEdit
Tokens are by definition things outside a changeling’s abilities to create. The closest a changeling can get is taking a mundane object and leaving it in the Hedge for a period of time. Assume that for each dot of the token expected, the item must be left in the Hedge for one month of time (though the Storyteller may add or subtract time depending on the needs of the story and power of the token). Note, however, that this produces a token whose power is outside the changeling’s choosing. A changeling may be able to steer the “flavor” of the item’s power by leaving it in appropriate places.
- Optional Merit: Token Maker (•••)
Crafting a token is possible; however it's a long and arduous project that requires not only great skill but a commitment of personal energies as well. First, the character must be able to accurately create some sort of plans, recipe or blueprint for the creation. The researcher does not need to be the same person as the crafter of the Token, but creating a recipe from scratch is an extended Intelligence + Occult roll, with one day required per roll and total successes required of five per dot in the token. This research cannot be interrupted until complete, or all successes are lost.
With this merit a changeling might create Tokens through an extended action of Wyrd + Crafts, with each roll representing two weeks of work and a target number of 25 per dot of Token. Token Makers must expend at least one point of Glamour per two weeks into their work, and may expend up to five per month. Each point of Glamour above the first counts as an automatic success toward the total.
The character must work for at least eight hours each day; working 16 or more hours a day adds an additional two dice to the roll per week that the character can maintain this schedule. If the crafter leaves off in the middle of her project, accumulated successes remain — but if she fails to pick up her tools again and resume work within two weeks, the successes are lost as the Glamour flees and her inspiration leaves her.
Token drawbacks are not within the control of their creator. They are a result of the cagey nature of Glamour, and cannot be guided by the token’s maker’s hand or will. As tokens are forged in part out of the maker’s own Glamour, however, the drawback often reflects a connection to the maker in some way.
Finding A TokenEdit
Anything withdrawn from the Hedge or from the lands of Faerie might theoretically be a token. Tokens are not always easy to recognize, however. To determine whether a given object is a token or not, a changeling must roll Wits + Wyrd while in contact with the item. Success allows her to "feel" the familiar tingle of a promise reinforced by Glamour.