nWOD : Changeling the Lost
Mike Laird, struggling writer, and Martin Gray, former athlete, discover how the world they live in is far more insidious and stranger than they believe. In a world where myths become real and monsters exist, the two discover how their lives have caught the attentions of something called The Collector and learn truths about themselves which they can never ever forget.
Mike Laird searches for a story. Having sought to be a writer all his life, Mike struggles to find inspiration. Almost as if to answer his search, he hears the sound of a small object hitting the floor. A quick check leads him to finding a tooth, a human molar, resting on the floor panels. Before he could do more, another tooth clatters down. And another. Soon, he realizes he is looking at a trail of teeth leading to a hole under the couch. A hand suddenly emerges from the hold and takes the teeth he gives it. When he takes the hand, he finds himself pulled into a strange world with piles and stacks and towers of teeth. He awakens and discovers he's found his story, and he begins to write.
Martin Gray's story begins while attending rehab with a nurse named Jenny. Martin lost the use of his legs when he fell from a wall-climbing event. Nightly he meets with Jenny for rehab and the two begin to form a strong relationship - marred only by the fact Jenny is seeing an uncouth jock of a boyfriend named Brad, and the disturbing presence of a stalker who might not even be human. Sadly, though the growing feelings he has for Jenny seem real, he soon uncovers a horrible secret: He is not real. His life is merely a simulacrum, a copy of another person's. He is a Fetch, and the stalker is the man whose life he has stolen.
In the five sessions that follow, both characters discover how their lives have been forever changed by the Gentry known as the Collector. Soon, Mike learns of the Fetch that has replaced him, gained the fame and happiness he sought, and conspires to kill him. Martin on the other hand discovers the Martin whose life he had replaced seeks revenge, and finds himself kidnapped for some strange ritual that was to be performed. But plans go awry and the real Martin is mortally wounded by others. Just before death, Martin is given a choice, to accept a strange Goblin Contract that would have him switch lives with the real one.. or accept the life of being a false person. Martin accepts.
By the end of the story, Martin and Mike form an unlikely friendship, both having lives that were seemingly torn from their control at the same time. Mike rediscovers his Summer Court mantle as King and claims his weapon, the mythical spear of Destiny back. They also discover that Mike's Fetch knew it wasn't real and had been writing books to exorcise the strange visions that he has been seeing. But when word reaches them that the Collector is coming to recapture them, neither the Autumn nor Winter Courts present are willing to help them. Mike's mother, on the other hand, is willing to help now that her son has returned, and steals away a child to use in an Autumn Contract - one which would entail terrifying the child to death until the fear is sufficient to sate the Gentry's hunger.
The two rush to stop his mother, and eventually find themselves forced to face off with the Gentry on their won. Martin uses the Contracts of Stone to rip the Gentry's armor aside, and Mike uses the Spear to grievously cripple the godlike monster. Martin realizes from Mike's Fetch's book "Faeredoom" that the Collector despises "imperfections" and offers himself to the Collector in exchange for the rest of them. Mike realizes Martin isn't "the real Martin" and decides to play along, forging a Pledge from the Gentry to leave the city in peace in exchange for its life. The Gentry agrees and as she returns to the Hedge, she suddenly senses Martin's "difference." The difference resonates upon her like poison and she is forced to throw him out of the Hedge in fear of her own survival.
The two defeat the Gentry and find years of peace following their lives, so long as they choose never to leave the city.
On the other hand, the young child that was being tortured and saved, grows up and finds himself obsessed with uncovering the truth about the Gathering Man and why the books seem to be hiding a secret truth. And the game ends with the young child cutting a hold under the couch and holding out a tooth towards it.
And he waits.
To see if something will respond.
I thank Dennis and BJ Recio (who has made d20 books based on Filipino mythological beasts. Asuang: Shapechanging Horrors and Tikbalang: Guardians of Kalikasan) for being players in this game series. It was a great run!