“I know this because Tyler knows this.”
— The narrator, Fight Club
If you haven’t figured it out already, fetches are as strong and skilled as their originals. They might be just as talented, with the exact same speed and firearms skills. They might be different - not as fast, but with more manipulative abilities - but in the end, the sum is the same.
On one hand, they were made to look mortal and for the most part, they are. Fetches don’t have our seemings or kiths, and their minds aren’t as fragile as ours. They believe in mortal codes, like they’re programmed to do, but they might not follow them or regard them well.
On the other hand, they’re not normal; they are as tied to the Wyrd as we are. Fetches automatically see our miens and sense us when we get too close. And they have strange powers, known as echoes, that are usually more potent when they’re facing the changeling they replaced. Always be careful with your own fetch because if they turn on you, you’ll be in more trouble than anyone else.
But I’m here to tell you: There can be a lot more to fetches than we expect. The Fae are tricky, as a rule, and fetches are their handiwork. So don’t get too comfortable thinking they can’t be more dangerous than their original and never think you know all about them. It may be the last mistake you make.
I’ve seen fetches move way faster than they should be able to, when all the cards are down. I could swear my own fetch drained Glamour from me, whether we were awake or asleep. I’ve seen a couple that split into earlier versions of themself and say things that drove their changelings mad. I’ve watched their footsteps disappear, like they were being erased. And I’ve heard families defend the fetch even when the original was looking them in the face. [For mechanics related to these differences, see Mechanical Considerations below.]
You may have heard about the Duchy of Truth and Loss, but for those of you who haven’t: We have a whole “noble” order that trains changelings to find and destroy fetches. If you show a Duke you can do the work on your own, he’ll probably ordain you. They even offer one of the only magic items that can tell if someone is a fetch; it’s their fucking badge of membership.
You might have a Duke or Duchess in your freehold right now, offering their services as ketches. The important thing to know is that not all ketches join the entitlement or stick with it, and for good reasons. The first problem is the Duchy’s party line. Most of its members believe that fetches are tools of Arcadia littering the world like a minefield. They’re not people, they’re dangerous things that need to be removed for everyone’s good.
But that’s just the beginning. Dukes make it their goal to kill as many fetches as they can find, even if the changelings they replaced haven’t returned. They spend most of their lives hunting people whose only crime is existing, and they don’t care what the original changelings want or need. And whatever rewards they get for killing fetches, they keep to themselves.
Is each Duke and Duchess a cold-blooded killing machine? Yes and no. They can reserve their hatred for fetches and treat others alright. They usually think they’re protectors of the innocent, doing the dirty work of making the world a safer place. But from what I’ve seen, most of them are just trying to hurt the True Fae, and most freeholds won’t make a fuss if they target fetches.
That doesn’t mean all of the Dukes are bullies. A few feel bad that fetches are given lies to live and see them as victims of the Fae, like us. They want fetches to learn the truth so they can make their own choices. If a fetch chooses to give up their old life and move on peacefully, then it's less likely that blood will be spilled. If a fetch gets violent, some Duchesses will just drive them out by destroying their public image (which isn’t very hard to do nowadays).
But those Dukes and Duchesses are few and far between. When your culture teaches that all fetches are abominations that must be wiped out so anyone can be safe, it’s easy to see yourself as a hero for taking up the cause. When you’re rewarded for the scalps you bring back, you’re less likely to ask questions. And when this kind of violent group is praised and feared across the world, it’s going to attract people with a taste for brutality more often than not.
Believe me, I should know - I was a Duke of Truth and Loss for years. I learned the dogma and walked the walk. I passed on the title to those who made the grade. But when I started to have my doubts, they laughed. When I started taking longer to decide what I would do with a target, I lost face. And when I got sick of “nobles” acting like murderous assholes, I walked.
I’m still a ketch because there’ll always be a need for that, but I can’t say there’s a need for the Duchy. The truth is, we don’t always teach changelings how to be ketches, but we should. Leaving ketches to their own devices leads to more losses, not just in fetches, but inside us. We wouldn’t be so scarred if we had better guidance. But mixing ideas of pomp and nobility with hunting people is the last thing we need. It’s too much like Them.
We might not be perfect, but if we’re careful, we never have to be like the Others. If you remember anything from this guide, let it be that.
One of Changeling: the Lost’s greatest features is its incredible flexibility. While it starts and ends with fairy tales, it can provide the means to translate a broad range of story types into its terms. It can easily encompass myths, folk tales, and urban legends, but its flexibility does not end there. It provides vocabulary, motivations, and patterns that can apply to science fiction, drama, and more.
The game can offer a way to reinterpret old favorites and extrapolate new stories from them. In my experience, some films and shows make even more sense once they are viewed through Changeling’s lens. Sit down and watch Big Trouble in Little China as a Changeling story sometime, and you might come to see what I mean.
Finding inspiration for different kinds of fetches and fetch-related story tropes isn’t difficult once you widen your initial view of what they are and what they experience. They are not just magical creations thrown together by mad monsters, and they are not simply doppelgangers. Fetches are fabricated beings, reflections of their changelings, a sliver of a soul given the facsimile of life. This means that shows and films which feature humanoid robots, androids, clones, twins, supernatural reflections, alter-egos, dream reflections, and computer renditions can provide a glimpse into what a fetch can become. Even the Frankenstein tale can offer insight into fetches.
Stories which feature amnesia, mistaken identity, impostors, sabotage, one’s hidden desires coming to life, diving into obsession, disconnection from emotions, dramatic lifestyle changes, fighting over family members, and the search for one’s true identity can show what fetches face and how they might react to their circumstances.
IMDB’s keyword searches can show you just how common these themes and tropes are, and will introduce you to projects you may have never heard of before. You can find a sample of IMDB results by clicking the links above. Once you expand your field of vision beyond fairy tales - which are incredibly diverse and inspiring on their own - you will be rewarded with all of the story material you could ever ask for.
In game terms, fetches have the same number of dots in Attributes, Skills, and Merits. Character creation rules tell us fetches do not have seemings, kiths, or Clarity ratings, and can never attain them. In the core rules, fetches have a Wyrd score that is always the same as their original. Based on their Wyrd, they have a few Echoes, and they all have the Attuned to the Wyrd Echo to start with. They also have a Glamour pool, but how they refill it is not directly covered in the rules, as far as I have seen.
This section presents a few more abilities for fetches, but they are completely optional. They can be considered Echoes or left undefined. They can be tied to Wyrd scores or assigned as desired.
Acid Tongue: A fetch with this power has a pronounced effect on mortals, making them more resistant to being swayed by the changeling they replaced. Family, friends, and other mortals who have spent a significant amount of time with the fetch will have a bonus equal to the fetch’s Wyrd against social and emotional approaches their changeling makes regarding the fae. That includes convincing the mortal in question that the fetch isn’t real and the changeling needs their help.
Envious Eyes: The fetch can attempt to feed on the Glamour of any changeling within 50 feet (or within their dream). A Clash of Wills roll must be made first. If the target loses, the harvest attempt can proceed; the target will lose Glamour equal to the fetch’s successes on their harvest roll. A fetch with this ability cannot be harvested by anyone except their creator.
Fleeting Shadow: The fetch can add their Wyrd to their Speed for a turn if they spend half as much Glamour (rounded up) to activate this ability.
Matryoshka Dolls: The fetch emits several versions of itself, each one at an earlier life stage than the true fetch’s current form. It can manifest one iteration for each dot of Wyrd it possesses above 1, but they must be at different developmental stages (child, preteen, teen, young adult, etc.). Each additional version is successively weaker than the original and might differ from its fellows. These versions cannot spawn more dolls but they share the Wyrd score and Echoes of the original fetch. This means that they cannot use the same Echoes simultaneously. The sight of the “dolls” is usually a breaking point for the changeling the fetch replaced, and their presence makes it challenging to concentrate on anything else. They only exist for as many turns as the fetch’s Wyrd. It costs the fetch one point of Glamour per doll to activate this power and they will not manifest until the price is paid in full.
For example: A middle aged fetch with a Wyrd of 4 could spawn a version of himself at 30, at 20, and at 15. The 20 year old might be the strongest and arranged as Physical/Social/Mental; the 30 year old could be Social/Physical/Mental and the next strongest; the 15 year old, the weakest, may be strong in Social/Mental/Physical but has the least dots of any of them. “Strongest” is relative and based on how many dots the original changeling has in Attributes, Skills, and Merits. The “dolls” - which appear all too real - will not manifest powers the original fetch does not possess. Their social rolls against the changeling might result in penalties to Initiative or rolls that require concentration.
Without a Trace: This power acts as per the demon Embed (see Demon: the Descent and is activated by spending a Glamour point and succeeding at the listed roll.
* Please note: This is a fictional guide based on a tabletop roleplaying game, Changeling: the Lost. It is not meant to be taken literally and does not condone violence of any kind in the real world.
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