Redactyl Nest: The Anarchy of Changelings

Changelings to me are very interesting to read about, use as NPCs, and  to discuss the hypotheticals of with fellow DMs about their applications to a story. They also happen to be a player race that I am familiar with through my own gaming history. See I have run into players who use this race as a way to further a serious idea within their story. A spy hired by their home nation, an orphan turned charlatan whose many faces leave the victims of their cons confused and without a chance at reprisal, and so on. For each of these serious players  though, there are ten which are usually apart of what I call a "Meme Team". Yes, I used that to describe a group player, we are moving forward. That term probably will ring true when DMs think about that type of player, the ones who are silly and do not give a single shit about the plot half the time. There is nothing wrong with this kind of player if you know it going in, but god damn can a Changeling turn a Meme Team into a Meme Dream Team. A team so bonkers and off the wall there is no true way to prepare for them, you kind of just have to adjust as you go.

My prime example of this is a one off game I ran years ago for some visiting friends from out of state. We grabbed a few people and rolled up some weird characters for them to play as. A goat wizard you bleeted at random people, a death knight that saw dead people everywhere that caused them to have trouble distinguishing between alive and dead, a cat shifter which was semi serious, but also absolutely bonkers, and finally a changeling. The player of the changeling asked how many faces they could have to start. I wasn't sure and did not have much experience with changelings so I said five. The player nodded and accepted that and went to work on his character. It was a one off so I didn't pay too much attention and just kinda let them do whatever. Screw requirements and such, lets just have fun. Well...

So what had happened was that player of the changeling? Well they alerted me as we were introducing the characters that the changeling had multiple personalities. I thought that was interesting so I let them play it out. What they did not tell me was that it was five personalities, each with their own designated face, and their own way of play. He carried multiple weapons and even a spellbook, because taking a level in wizard let him do that. Now he had set up certain things to cause his face to change and his style of play to change. Needless to say when someone rolled intimidation and he turned into Grimace Bloodaxe his orc chieftain persona, I was surprised. What followed after was absolute chaos. A dungeon was set on fire with enough oil for America to contemplate invading, the goat wizard tried to bed a god, half the city was in ruin, and the bar tab was left unpaid.

I loved every minute of running that anarchy.

To all the DMs and players out there I highly recommend changelings for a game. For the weird or silly games they can only increase the fun at the table out of and in game. Also for the serious ones they can add so much depth and intrigue to explore that I find them popping up in games I run as NPCs often because I just find them so fascinating. Changelings may not be for everyone, but I will always welcome them at my table as long as Grimace Bloodaxe doesn't try to adopt the entire orphanage again to make them into his new war band.


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