Petals of the Rose
On Harvesting Glamour
The Changeling: the Lost core book does not do a fantastic job of clarifying how it is that changelings go about harvesting glamour from humans. Here’s a primer on that subject.
Glamour is magical energy generated from the power of emotions. This fuels the existence of all things fae. It is currency, power source, and drug all rolled into one. As such, some liken changelings to emotional vampires. However, this comparison falls flat, to a degree, because although changelings draw in the power of glamour as emotions are drawn out of humans, this does not seem to directly harm or impact human beings in any noticeable way (apart from any harm experiencing the emotion may do).
However, there are rumors that harvesting from the same person too often can drain them of their emotions permanently. It’s difficult to determine for sure if this is true, and testing it is surely a monstrous act.
So how do the Lost pull Glamour from a person? Officially, any action you can take to engage with a person and provoke an emotional reaction can stir Glamour from which you can sup. Choose any action in relation to a person, and roll the relevant dice pool for that action. The number of successes is the number of Glamour points you generate and obtain. If the emotion is sufficiently close to your Court’s chosen emotion and you get any successes, gain an additional point of Glamour. This is an active, intentional process where the changeling is the creator of the situation and the emotion is primarily directed at them.
Example: Hemingway the Autumn Ogre is facing a teenager who was picking on a boy he’s determined to save. He tells the teenager in no uncertain terms just how much pressure it takes to tear an arm off, and while doing it, he bends a steel pipe into a pretzel. The storyteller (me) decides that this action would be Strength + Intimidation – target’s Composure. Rolling, Hemingway gets 2 successes. Because the action generates fear, Hemingway obtains 3 Glamour points. In addition, the teenager is cowed and flees.
In my game, changelings can also pull Glamour from emotional energy that isn’t directed at them. From any group with a collective emotional response, like a crowd at a concert or a mob at a rally, a changeling can drink Glamour from the ambient emotions. To do this, simply roll your Wyrd. Successes translate into Glamour 1-1. Naturally, starting characters are unlikely to gain much effect from this kind of harvesting. Successive attempts are allowed at a cumulative -1 penalty per roll. I will use Storyteller discretion to determine if a group is large enough and emotionally charged enough to have a passive Glamour pool to draw from.
Example: Hemingway attends a metal concert for a major headlining band. The energy of the crowd is infectiously exciting. Hemingway is transported by the music and the waves of Glamour all around him. His Wyrd is 4. Staying for the entire concert, Hemingway rolls 4 times, at 4 dice, then 3, then 2, then 1. By the end, his total successes are 4, and he gains that much Glamour.
An optional system proposed in Rites of Spring offers that drinking 5 or more Glamour in one attempt makes you drunk/high on it. Based on the emotion taken in, your character would be stimulated or depressed accordingly. Although I don’t feel it necessary to use rules surrounding this, I like to have it as an RP element when someone does take in that much power at once.