by Lars Strobaek

(The idea of inanimate changelings is a really good one, but for several reasons, the rules in the Inanimae book just don’t sit well with me. Firstly, I do not think that the elemental pattern the book displays fit in very well with the imagery of Changeling, it has more of a Magic:tG feel to it, the same thing goes for their wars and empires. The enchanted glades and mystical ponds are fine, but a magical bonfire doesn’t speak to me (I really love the mannikins though, and I know I’m going to write them an entire kithbook once, when I get sufficiently inspired). Secondly, I cannot accept the fact that the Inanimae’s dream-form can just create a physical, mundane body out of nothing. I know they are supposed to be playable, but if you want to play something as exotic as an Inanimae you’ll have to adjust.

So, these are the changes I have made to the Inanimae systems for my own chronicles: Inanimae can only reside in Anchors made up of the material associated with their phyla. That means no solimonds, except maybe in an Arabian oil-fire. They cannot create Husks either. When they move around outside their Anchor, they do so in chimerical (dream) form, and are indistinguishable from chimera. Otherwise, they act as described in the Inanimae book. These are the basics, for the details please read on…)

The Inanimae are faeries, but differ from the Kithain changelings on one important point. They did not survive the Shattering by seeking refuge in mortal form, but instead sought the materials from which they were born: enchanted pools, mystical menhirs, and witches’ oaks. The Inanimae are created by the Glamour released when an object is dreamed to be magical or alive, and in order to exist in the mundane world their faerie souls are locked into the mundane objects that gave them life. During the Sundering, some Inanimae tried to seek shelter from Banality in living forms like the Kithain, but this was difficult to achieve, and those who managed it never emerged. It is theorized that the abstract dreams of inanimate sentience were too incompatible with rational human thought patterns, and as such the faerie soul was unable to overcome the basic Banality of the human mind. Many Inanimae fled into the Dreaming to sustain their chimerical selves, where they exist as chimera to this day.

The Inanimae utilize their Glamour differently than Kithain. Their physical Anchors possess very little Banality compared to humans, and are not exposed to it as often. Their Anchor is a natural source of Glamour, due to its empathic link with the Dreaming. Gaining Glamour is detailed in Inanimae, and the Players Guide. But in order to experience the outside world, to get in touch with other creatures of dream, as well as the dreamers who create them, they have to draw on that Glamour in order to separate their faerie mien from their inanimate Anchors. While in this state, the Inanimae’s senses along with its chimerical form are able to roam outside the Anchor as they will, and can use any abilities the Inanimae possess. However, the Inanimae’s soul can never leave the physical Anchor, and therefore its chimerical form has +2 difficulty on any rolls to gain Glamour when it does not reside in the Anchor. It is also more vulnerable to Banality, a vulnerability that becomes more severe the further the Inanimae moves from its shell. In order to affect the mundane world while in chimerical form, the Inanimae has to call upon the Wyrd, which can be a harrowing experience for any unenchanted mortals present.

If the Anchor of an Inanimae is damaged, she suffers the approximate wound penalties, as well as the pain. If it should be destroyed, she dies. Unlike changelings, her faerie soul cannot exist without its source.

The kith(or phyla) of an Inanimae is based on the material they inhabit. The most numerous of the traditional phyla are the kubera, who live in plants and trees, or sometimes dead wood. Most kubera are dryads, like described in the Inanimae book, but another kind also exists, the ents (for lack of a better name). They are protectors of the woods, big and strong, but ugly and slow-witted. Ents have the birthrights Fertile Minds(like dryads) and Strength of the Oak(like glomes), and the frailty Gruesome(max. appearance one, and cannot have the Face background(see below)).

(The idea for the ents came from the Sandman, the ‘a midsummer night’s dream’ story, by Neil Gaiman, and the related ‘Books of Faerie’. Look at the guy talking about Peaseblossom, and you get my picture.)

Other phyla include the ondines, who live in streams and pools of water, and are also called nereids or water nymphs. The glomes inhabit rocks and stones, and are slow and heavy. Relatives of the ondines, the extremely rare parosemes live in places of perpetual fog, mist, or gasses. Each phyla has its own art(or sliver, see the main book), dealing with their chosen element, but Inanimae cannot learn Kithain arts(nor can Kithain learn slivers).

The chimerical form of an Inanimae in most cases look like a cross between their Anchor and the human form. It is not always human-like though, many are abstract representations of their material, and some even look like hideous monsters. Kubera usually have green, leafy hair, and ondines often have transparent flesh and/or fish-like features. In game terms, the Husk background is replaced by Face, which represents how human the Inanimae looks; three dots are required to fool anyone, while five dots are a perfect image.

The last Inanimae kith actually walk the line between Inanimae and Kithain. The mannikins, or effigies, inhabit objects created to imitate the human form. While the Banality of being made in a factory and subsequently sold off cannot be disputed, it is more than made up for by the fact that few people can look at a Anchor and not, somewhere in their minds, imagine it to be alive. Indeed, with children’s toys, this is their whole purpose. Because of this, mannikins are by far the most numerous of the Inanimae.

As their suggested by their name, mannikins thrive in department stores, but just as many are found in movie studios and art schools. The largest department stores hold entire mannikin courts, complete with feudal titles and intrigue, in mimicry of their Kithain cousins. The fae in service to such a court usually move around without their Anchors during the day, visiting other courts or running errands in the Dreaming. At night, however, when the mundanes are all sleeping soundly, the mannikins hold their grand balls and councils, being able to wear their physical forms safe from prying eyes. Their relationships with both Inanimae and Kithain are strained, though, as the puppet courts seem untrustworthy to even the most dim-witted redcap or glome. The mannikins, of course, have no idea why they are so unpopular.

Few of the effigies make good knights and paladins, as their personality tends to lean towards the introverted. They dream of worlds where there is no distinction between ‘real’ and ‘artificial’, and have a deep love of chimerical toys and gadgets, preferably nocker-made. Secrets and mysteries are the mannikins’ main assets, and wisdom springs from their unique outlook on life and dreams.

Because of their closeness to humans, mannikins use Kithain arts instead of slivers, usually with emphasis on Chicanery, Soothsay, and Wayfare. They gain also Glamour as Kithain, not from Harvesting or Reaping.

Puppet strings: Unlike most other Inanimae, the mannikins can actually move in their Anchors. By spending a Glamour point while in her Anchor, a mannikin is able to move the body as if it was alive, as long as no banal creatures are present. In this state the mannikin cannot use a greater physical dice pool than her Glamour score. As soon as anyone who is not able to see her chimerical form notices the Anchor, the mannikin finds herself frozen in place, and unable to move unless she leaves her body behind(or calls upon the Wyrd). The mobility lasts until forced to a halt, or the Anchor is immobile for more than a hour, and gives the mannikins the advantage of being able to transport their Anchors themselves, without resorting to drastic measures.

Simulacrum: The pseudo-human form of their Anchors usually affect a mannikin’s faerie mien as well,the notable exception being stuffed teddy bears. Unless it possesses the flaw Monstrous, a mannikin’s chimerical form looks human enough to pose as either human or changeling, without the Face background (see above).

Alien: There always seems to be something odd about a mannikin’s behavior to others, no matter how hard she tries to fit in. Social rolls concerning non-mannikins have a +1 difficulty.

Character Creation
A couple of things to consider:

Your Legacies should be chosen according to your Court, and in the case of Inanimae, Gladeling corresponds to Seelie and Krofted to Unseelie. Note that mannikins are always krofted – honor and courage just doesn’t come naturally to them. Also, remember that Inanimae cannot use arts, and mannikins cannot use slivers. Otherwise, refer to the Inanimae book for details.

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