On Capturing Abstracts

A popular fan-supported element of the game that the books hint at is the idea that changelings encounter and experience the abstract as real, physical objects. A gush of compassion isn’t just a pretty metaphor. It can also be a literal thing that oozes through the skin over the heart and is caught in a vial and stoppered.

Humans, being incapable of sensing the Wyrd, cannot see or interact with such abstracts. By and large, they see nothing at all, or something entirely mundane when they are shown such things. Changelings may see a powder, or a gelatinous block of goo, but they also inherently recognize the abstract’s nature as well. It’s a bottle of happiness because… well, look at it, it looks like golden, shining happiness, caressing the inside of the bottle.

Systems-wise, changelings can harvest the abstract into a thematically appropriate container by either spending a Glamour point or rolling their Wyrd. Unlike opening a hedge gate, this decision is time-critical, as abstracts are mature and ripe for only a fleeting moment. Missing the right moment causes the effort to be wasted. The goo evaporates or the dust blows away. So once you choose to roll, if you fail, you fail.

Abstracts can also be used a bit like trifles. Smearing a man’s toast with butter of bitterness would affect his mood for the next scene, subtly making him embittered. However, the Lost using such an item has no control over the exact effect or toward whom or what the target is oriented. So although you could have your girlfriend drink a tonic of true love, painstakingly collected from every wedding you’ve attended for the last decade, she might simply realize that she truly loves a childhood friend who has pined for her for years instead of the weirdo she’s been dating.

Items like this are perfect for paying hobs at the Garage Sale, or for storing and using in recipes to make tokens and trifles (needs the Token Maker merit).

On Capturing Abstracts

Petals of the Rose Malkom Malkom