Angelus Morningstar

Dream Shard
The Gambit

Author: A ngelus Morningstar Artwork: Gavin Hargest

Lost Shards are fan- made products designed for use with the World of Darkness book, Changeling: the Lost. A bsence of trademarks from copyrighted materials does not constitute a legal challenge to the original owners. A ny original material is the intellectual property of A ngelus Morningstar unless otherwise credited.


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The system of the Great Courts is a dynamic of powers that is thought to keep the Fae away from the influence of a freehold. The shifting and conceding of power is considered to be the basis of confusion for the Fae, who cannot understand such voluntary surrender of power. For the most part, the extant Courts in the world are based on naturally shifting phenomena, such as the change of the seasons, the partition of directions or the cycle of day and night. Yet here, there exists another principle of power division that is not based on natural events, but rather that of chance and whim. Even more erratic than the power plays of the changing seasons or encroaching direction is that of the Court of Suits. Each of these Courts derives their power from one of the suits of the tarot, which many changelings assert have a strange affinity with the fickle flow of fate. By placing their trust in the shifting powers of the suits, a freehold can claim a more chaotic dynamic than any of the other Court systems can attest. Power relies solely and purely on the fickleness of fate and chance, and not some determined order. However, the Court of Suits is very rarely stable, the shifting sands of politics is temperamental and conflicting as the members of the freehold are constantly in arms and struggling against each other. The Court of Suits has found popularity in cities where there is an immense level of gambling, Las Vegas is notorious for the influence of these Courts, as is Monte Carlo. Beyond those two casinopoli it can be more common to find the Court of Suits to be utilized in freeholds found entirely within the Hedge. With fortunes literally turning at the toss of a dime or turn of a wheel, few changelings are willing to commit long- term to the art of the Court of Suits. From these circumstances, has emerged the custom of the Gambit. It is a temporary ( albeit sometimes longer than expected) cessation of the normal method of politics within a freehold and the establishment of the Gambit. The whole purpose of this is to cause a great dissembling within the freehold, to throw off the Others in times of emergency. affinity of the Seasonal courts. That is to say, if a changeling in the Suit of Swords harvests in a manner aligned with their stratagem of risk, they gain the extra glamour from Harvest.

The Suit of Swords
The Fae are stagnant and unchanging, the Fae are renown for their inability to create or innovate. The fundamental philosophy of the Suits is one of novelty and action. Thus, the Suit posits, an entire faction dedicated to the pursuit and celebration of such things must surely be beyond their grasp. Of the four Suits, the Swords are almost always the first to move. They are guided by a philosophy of action and movement. They, like the fires of their crown, must always be in motion and hunger for novelty and originality. For the courtiers of the Swords, life is punctuated with huge bursts of glory and luck, followed by an equally devastating downslide of disaster. They are commonly found pursuing activities involving risk, from high stakes gambling, to extreme sports, to entering the chambers of married spouses. Unsurprisingly, the changeling that originally bartered with the suit and forged an alliance with it, managed to do so with a gambit where he literally placed his life and soul on the line. This great game of cards has been sung to have spelled out defeat for the hero, when he bet double or nothing on the last card, offering his life and soul as recompense. The suit took this bid, only to find that with the last card the suit had lost. Some still whisper that the real game was no the cards, but to see how much the changeling would risk to get the alliance. Typically, the courtiers of Swords are also the most martial of the four courts. Not because they necessarily have any particular prowess at combat, but because they are quick to rush into the face of danger and spite their enemy with whatever cunning artifice and device they may have at hand. One may just as easily see a Sword courtier battling hand to hand as gleefully throwing explosives from range into the heart of the enemy.

The Four Suits
A t the heart of the Gambit’s power lie the four Suits, and more often changelings will refer to their group as a suit, rather than by the more common name of Court. The four suits are Swords, Cups, Coins and Staves. What follows is a break down of the different suits. Each small write up will contain the overarching themes of the Court. Unlike the normal courts, the Suits have neither conventions regarding their players ( or courtiers) , nor dedicated rituals. The Suits are far to transient to develop trends like these. Furthermore, unlike the traditional Courts, the Suits do not so much have an emotional affinity as a strategy of game. This fundamental shift in property of Courts is just one of the factors that confounds the Fae during the great game. Each Suit is aligned with a stratagem, a modus operandi that flavours their theme. Like the emotional affinities of the Seasonal and other Courts, if a harvest is performed in a manner associated with the stratagem, the changeling gains a surplus of glamour as though they had harvested with the emotional 2

The Suit of Swords principally corresponds to Summer, the midday sun and the southern direction. For this reason, they may draw upon the heraldry of the Summer and Northern courts which are very familiar to them. Beyond this, the changelings in the court of Swords, also draw upon images of fire, heat and light. In particular the metal bronze is a favoured substance that the changelings forge their weapons and trinkets in. Indeed, such changelings are known for having an array of bronze knick- knacks hanging from their lapels and skirts, some gaudy, some refined – but almost all seem to enjoy the gentle clink these trinkets bring.

The mantle of the court of Swords is highly vibrant and energetic. A s their affinity with the court grows, their body develops a certain movement, like the erratic flickering of flames. A t low levels of Mantle, from • to •••, the changeling is suffused with a subtle sense of power, there is an aura about them like a heat haze that radiates energy. A t higher levels, ••••+ , the changeling’s body is filled

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with almost volatile energy and their skin seems to flicker like the crackle of flames, their voice is more magnified and their hair and skins shines with a lustrous radiance. A t Mantle •, the changeling feels a simple quickening in their steps, and function as though they had the Fresh Start Merit. Once the changeling’s Mantle reaches •••, they begin to manifest a much more fluid motion and step. With the cost of a glamour, the changeling may add their Wyrd to their Speed and Initiative. A t the height of their power, the changeling’s internal energy lifts and moved them, and at Mantle •••••, the expenditure of Willpower on a physical action grants them the +4 instead of the normal + 3 modifier. character came to the suit itself and produced such a soul wrenching tale of heart break that the stones were said to weep for him. Broken and pitiful before them, the suit was moved to great measures of compassion, freely offering the protection of an alliance against the Fae. However, like most of his acts, this was one ruse among many. Such was the pride of the suit, and the legend that he spun, that upon the discovery of the falsehood, the suit was more inclined to uphold the agreement than to wreak vengeance on the shyster. Within the freehold, the courtiers of Cups are entertainers, performers, artists, creators of beauty and refinement, and even masters of etiquette. Beyond these roles, the Cup courtiers are often drawn to works of charity and compassion, seeking to provide succour and healing to their fellow Lost, and nurture their freeholds much like a priest with their flock.

A t the heart of the Sword stratagem is to place a powerful faith in the game itself, to trust to fate, chance and all the forces that would push and pull at the hapless players. This is the art of risk, to take the leap of faith into the depths, the go beyond the new horizons that no- one has explored. Yes, with risk there is danger, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward ( usually) . Thus, the court of Swords play high on the gambits, and very often rash and plucky. A lmost always, the players in Swords are daredevils, thrill- seekers and in constant search of the next big gambit or punt. They veritably feed on the rush of adrenaline that comes with the risk, and such intense emotions heightened by risk are ambrosia to the Suit of Swords. Of course, as players of risk, they are not above putting their targets into risk’s way for the sake of the harvest. A fter all, the risk is often intensified when forced unwillingly into the gambit, as it’s that lack of control that puts you on edge.

The Suit of Cups principally corresponds to A utumn, the setting sun and the western direction. For this reason, they may draw upon the heraldry of the A utumn and Western courts which are very familiar to them. Changelings in the Suit of Cups will also garb themselves in elegant and flowing clothes. A ny outfit that can be composed of folds of cloth is considered highly desirable, including scarves, veils and sarongs. The Suit of Cups is also highly drawn to displays of exotic apparel; piercings, tattoos, face paints and extravagant make- ups are a common motif.

It is often said that the Mantle for Cups is called the Veil of Tears. Those who are blessed with it draw about themselves a Mantle of emotional outlet that hides and disguises them. A t low levels of Mantle, from • to •••, the changeling’s skin and hair feel slightly damp to the touch as though they had just emerged from water. A t higher levels, ••••+ , the changeling’s skin and hair seems to ripple as though the changeling is moving underwater. The first • of Mantle ( Cups) grants the changeling the ability to understand emotions with a simple flair. They gain a +2 bonus to any roll designed to understand emotions. Upon achieving ••• dots in Mantle, their art of emotion becomes succinct, allowing the changeling to subtract their Wyrd from any attempts to discern the changeling’s true emotions. When a changeling becomes the epitome of Cups, all actions of deceit and guile becomes second- nature. For at Mantle •••••, the changeling gains the 8 A gain rule on all rolls involving deception and deceit or subterfuge.

Cups: Who has time to worry and wallow in the depth of emotions? That’s old news. Coins: Sedentary misbegotten wretches. Getting them out of their comfort zones would do them a world of good. Staves: Lofty and proud, but their keen wit is a sign of some worth.

The Suit of Cups
Emotions are a deep source of glamour and power, as every changeling knows. The Fae may have some intuition of emotion, but the Cup courtiers attest that they are only perverse mockeries of those made by human hearts and minds. By truly and profoundly embracing the range of mortal emotion, the Cups hope to put themselves beyond the influence of the Fae who cannot truly ken their depths. The Suit of Cups draws upon the vast array of emotions as tools as much as energy. Each single emotion is just one carefully made brush in a broad and wider palate. They are moved by their emotions and just as equally move their emotions to great heights. In attempting to seek these depths, the Cup courtiers are more succinctly drawn to a sense of aesthetics. They love art in its manifold creation and enjoy surrounding themselves with beauty. More than any other suit, Cups will patronize the arts and other endeavours of beauty. The first changeling to strike a deal with the Suit of Cups, was said to be a master charlatan and swindler. This

Never let the opponent know what you’re truly thinking. If they cannot perceive your motives, then how can they out- manoeuvre you? This is the purpose behind the powerful emotional array, for one display of emotion becomes a veritable mask to disguise what one truly feels. This is the stratagem of bluff, to keep the enemy constantly off guard. The changelings of Cups feed best when the emotions they elicit are the result of false emotions portrayed. Thus 3

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the Cups changelings can be found anywhere from playing the false lover, to traipsing the stage and screen, to giving false but stirring speeches at the chapel. They cultivate false love, false hope and other tokens of unrequited affection. also the sense of heaviness about their apparel, as there is a strong preference for leathers, denims, and other clothing that give the changeling a sense of protection ( sometimes even turning to clothing with plates inside them as genuine armour) .

Swords: So forward, so direct, so very easily led astray. Coins: There is some common sense to making a foundation of fortitude, but they’re always so grim. Staves: They may be aloof, they may be mercurial, but they are so confoundedly rational.

The Mantle of Coins provides the changelings who sport it a very powerful resilience to the world around them, offering a sense of stability and grounding. Changelings with Mantle • to •••, will give the impression of being solid and firm people, even the more softer personalities will seem to hold a hard edge underneath like steel under velvet. When the changeling reaches a Mantle of ••••+ , the changeling’s skin tends to become tougher, like leather or perhaps even calloused, their eyes turn steely or flinty and their face more angular. Mantle ( Coins ) • imbues the changeling with a sense of earthly stability. It grants them a + 2 modifier to prevent themselves from falling over or otherwise losing their stance. For the changeling with ••• dots in Mantle, the changeling’s skin takes on a slightly obdurate nature and offers the changeling a 1/0 armour rating ( in addition to any other mundane armour that he may wear) . Changelings who have reached the peak of their Mantle with •••••, will find that while they are within their chosen home, it will take on the defensive qualities of the Suit. For a point of glamour, the changeling’s homestead will impose a negative modifier on anyone trying to break in ( for that scene) , equal to the changeling’s Wyrd.

The Suit of Coins
The best offence is a good defence, claims the Suit of Coins, and the best defence is to root the self in the materialism of the world. By virtue of the fact that Earth is far from A rcadia, then if immerses themselves in the foundations of the world one distances themselves from the influence of the Others. In particular, while the materialism of the modern world may help to detach from A rcadia, the foundation of human technology and invention further confounds the others. The Suit of Coins luxuriates, invests into technology, and the array of human world. They surround themselves with trapping of the modern and human world, and more than any other suit, will make intensive endeavours to install modern contrivances and technologies into their homes. It is the home that is the foundation and pinnacle of each changeling in the Suit of Coins. They become veritable bastions against the encroach of the Gentry. Not for the Coin suitors are the havens of the Hedge, for they feel most comfortable surrounded by the good solid brick and mortar of human hand or, even better, their own. For those changelings who do not seek monetary fortune, there is a strong satisfaction that can be gain from constructing things with one’s own hands. Whether accruing wealth or building monuments, the impetus is toward some measure of security. The story of the alliance with the Suit of Coins was not one of trickery, guile or chance. No, it was simply a matter of purchase. The pragmatic founder of the suit’s alliance simply offers a considerable sum of payment to the suit, and after much haggling and negotiation the terms of payment were agreed acceptable. However, what exactly that payment consisted of is a matter of speculation, and will run the gamut of inordinate amounts of wealth to payments with strange abstractions. The influence of the Suit of Coins within the freehold generally ensures a measure of stability and growth. Though not necessarily profiteers and entrepreneurs ( though many are) , they are more directed to the stable and fundamental building of the society through tangible and fungible commodities.

Security is paramount for the Suit of Coins, their first line of defence is the only line, and one that everything is invested into. To do this, a changeling must exercise prudence and caution by investing their good fortunes into something that will be a tangible barrier between them and the Fae. From the vantage point of these bastion estates, the changeling can safely extend their influence and will. For the changelings of the Suit of Coins, the most endearing emotions are also the most enduring. Not for them are the extreme, but ultimately transient emotions of the every day, but those emotions rooted deep within the psyche. Thus these changelings will dip into deep wells, and bring them to the surface, either by inciting nostalgia in veterans, or reliving the unrequited love of many years – or even the torturous trauma of childhood that never went away.

Swords: So very, very reckless. A ll we have to do it wait them out. Cups: We both have fortifications, ours are simply worn on the outside. Staves: You can’t out think rock, and eventually you will come to the mountain.

The Suit of Coins principally corresponds to Winter, the night and the northern direction. For this reason, they may draw upon the heraldry of the Winter and Northern courts which are very familiar to them. Coin Suitors are known for displaying their materialism in ostentatious fashion. Whether it is a gross display or wealth, or an array of technological apparatuses. There is 4

The Suit of Staves
Every changeling can attest that at the heart of A rcadia is madness, a seething cold irrationality that undermines all reason. Even those Fae with a vain and cold logic of their

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own are underscored with specious reasoning. Thus, the Suit of Staves attests that a truly profound set of logic and reason is anathema to the mindset of the Fae. The Suit of Staves cultivate a keen and careful intellect. Even beyond the game of the Gambit, the changelings of the Staves are known to indulge in parlour games and board games to keep their edge. By learning strategy inside and out, the Staves hope to apply it to the larger reality of the Gambit. Beyond that, the Staves are highly Mercurial, fond of conversation and sophistry. For everything there is a reason, and the Staves like to reason about it all. Furthermore, of all the Suits, the changelings are the most communicative. Not only do they have an affinity for the written and spoken word, they extend that affinity to the pursuit of the contractual nature of the Wyrd. A Stave suitor is just as likely to go into depth about the minutiae of a legal accord underpinning a pledge to look for either loopholes or edges to their advantage. It is said that the Suit of Staves was swayed to an alliance with the changelings through the weight of a wellreasoned argument. The Suit forced the supplicant to plead his case before a mock- court, and argued it so succinctly that the Suit could not but help accede to the case. Just as notoriously, legend abounds that the changeling had planned the case in its entirety, citing litigious loopholes and all manner of precedents. In doing so, the changeling was able to catch the Suit out in an accord it was obliged to fill to the True Fae, that was argued extended to their once kept vassals. She went on then to further posit that the Suit was then subsequently freed from it’s former obligations to the Fae as its purview was far more closely tied to the mortal world.. Stave suitors are diplomats, mediators, strategists, thinkers, philosophers, lawyers and keepers of the various accords. The Suit lauds talent of any description, placing mental faculties above any other. Yet, as long as those talents are applied in a carefully considered and rational manner, such skills are not gone to waste. With ••• dots in Mantle, the changeling suffers no negative modifiers for using unskilled Mental Skills. When a changeling attained Mantle ( Staves) •••••, the changeling has a keenly functioning intellect. By spending a point of glamour, they may re- roll a failed Mental roll, but must keep the second roll.

Nothing beats a good game play. The best stratagem the Suit claims is one that is planned out to as many eventualities and variables as possible. Games of chance are about the odds, and these too can be calculated and included. While there is, of course, no such thing as a perfect plan, or a perfect plot, the Suit of Staves are all about devising the best plan for the occasion. If that means the occasional cheating, or underhanded tactic, than that is simply part and parcel of the plan. The changelings in the Suit of Staves harvest emotions best that are produced as the result of some carefully planned contrivance. For the emotion harvested to produce the bonus, it must be the result of some manipulation.

Swords: Their brevity can sometimes match our levity. Coins: They are stuck in a bed of mud they have made their own, and cannot adapt. Cups: They cannot shake off the irrationality of their emotional detritus

Face Cards
Within the traditional tarot deck, there are four face cards per suit. These cards are the King, the Queen, the Knight and the Page. Each of these cards holds certain functions and duties for the changeling lucky ( or unlucky) enough to draw them) . The King: Just as the Seasonal Courts have their King or Queen, so too does the Suits. The King of a suit is their leader, competent or otherwise, selected by Fate to guide and direct their fellow suitors. Naturally, the different Kings will be inclined to different leadership styles pending the suit they must lead. Kings of Swords are often brash, direct and aggressive, while Kings of Coins are subtle, patient and unyielding. The Queen: This role serves as counterpoint to the King, the role of the Queen is to lead from the shadows. They work to be the power behind the throne, or the courtly advisor. Queens of Cups tend to assume a role of spy masters, while Queens of Coins become like some dynastic matriarch protecting her clan. Queens of Sword is likely to be a tyrannical beta to the Sword King, and the Queen of Staves tends towards becoming a taciturn diplomat. The Knight: Knights are given the task of being the champions of their Suit. Thrust upon them is the responsibility to defence the interests and honour of their suit. When there is a call for a Hedge Duel, they are expected to front up to face the enemy at the appointed time, and they are asked to be the last stand in defence against assaults upon the freehold. Of course, not all champions use conventional weapons, or even conventional combat. A s long as they apply their powers, 5

The Suit of Staves principally corresponds to Spring, the rising sun and the eastern direction. For this reason, they may draw upon the heraldry of the Spring and Eastern courts, which are very familiar to them. Of all the Suits, the Suits of Staves tends to be the most utilitarian in their outfits. Though they may not dress drab, but there is often a formal cut to their fit and less embellishment in their design. The Suit of Staves also prefers lighter garments, with minimal layers, and clothing that gives of certain softness. Simple, unadorned robes in pastel may accompany lightweight suits and fashions.

The Suit of Staves offers a Mantle the brings to the changeling a quick and clear mind. When a changeling has a Mantle ( Staves) of • to •••, the changeling’s hair and clothing tends to ripple gently as though in a soft breeze. A t higher levels of ••••+ , the changeling’s every little movements are accompanied by simple gusts, their footsteps being a whirl of wind. When a changeling has • of Mantle ( Staves) the changeling gains a +2 modifier instead of the normal +1 for rolls that utilize Specialities

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arts, talents or sheer brutality to the task, they fulfil their role. The Page: The role of a page is somewhere between that of an errand boy and a great advisor for the King. They are expected to insert themselves socially among the other suits and represent the suits interests, or bring back good will. They are an all- round task performer for the suit, ranging from hosting the gathering, to marshalling the throng, to becoming a missive envoy. In all things they are the intermediaries between the suits. They become the Fool, of no suit, and yet representing all of them, for they are the keeper of the pledge of the Gambit. Their function is one part Master of Ceremonies, one part Peace Keeper and one part Dealer ( or Broker) . The cards drawn remain in the possession of the changeling that drew it. The remaining cards are shuffled with the Major A rcana and kept by the Fool.

The game is broken down into turns, which is typically one week, but may be any regular interval. A t the commencement of each turn, the Fool draws a card from the Deck. The first suit card is called the Rule, for it determines which Suit is in charge. It is the draw of the Rule that determines which Suit is in power for the next turn. For the first draw, simply which suit it is sets the power for the first turn. For subsequent draws, the Rule can be trumped by the actions of that Suit. Throughout each turn, the Suits will commit to pledges and attempt to fulfil them, which contributes to the strength of their play. If a play is strong enough, that Suit may trump the Rule.

Rules of the Game
So what is the objective of this Gambit? If it is a game, it must surely have goals and rules. There is, and they are rules that go back beyond memory. It is said that the Gambit is not just a game, but a smaller manifestation of the workings of the Wyrd itself. This is the game that the Fates play, the objective is to come out on top. For while the Gambit is in play, luck ( both good and bad) runs rampant through the freehold, and a canny changeling can use this achieve things they might otherwise be unable to. Fortunes seem to come hard and go fast in the Gambit, and the hope is to have won more at the end of the events than not. The game itself is a game of politics, where each Suit makes bids, and attempts to win tricks. These acts accrue each Suit a measure of power, designed to place their Suit in charge for the next turn. Each Suit is either trying to build enough influence to trump the Suit in power and take charge, or maintain enough power to declare a victory. The Suit that can declares victory gains a permanent bonus for all its players. Central to this game is the Deck. This is a tarot deck that becomes the focus of the game, and is imbued with the powers of the game like a Corporal for a pledge. This Deck is mystically weighted with the influence of the Suits, and can literally control the fate of the freehold. It is from this deck that the players are assigned a Suit and potential role, and it is the Deck that shapes the play. This Deck is the sole property of the Fool ( see below) and attempts to wrest it from him or her by force or guile will inevitably fail. Their bond is sacrosanct.

The first action to be taken is the bidding. Each Suit puts forth a number of bids. Each pledge is sworn for the duration of each turn. The Task are either Endeavour or Forbiddance, with the limitation that Endeavours must be completed before the end of the Duration, and Forbiddances must be upheld for the length of the Duration. For Sanctions and Boons, the normal range are not permitted, allowing and introducing a single Boon called the A ward and a single Sanction called the Penalty. Both A ward and Penalty give their suit a measure of influence over the Deck, equal to their numeric value ( both A ward and Penalty can be of Lesser, Medial or Greater magnitude) . Thus if a changeling has a Task with the A ward, Medial Boon and Penalty, Greater Sanction, should they succeed, then their Suit is granted two measures of influence, but failure would penalize them three measures of influence. Influence can be reduced to, but not below zero. It is also be possible for multiple changelings to swear to serve the same bid. That is, there are more changelings working to serve the same pledge, thus giving it a better chance of success. The trade- off is that there are less actual bids being made, as the resources of players are ordered into fewer bids. They either succeed or fail as a group. These bids are made to the Fool, who takes note and score of the final result for each turn. The following factors in making the bid may increase or decrease the final value of the A ward or Penalty by the stated amount. These values need not be calculated in the pledge- crafting. Pledging the oath publicly before the freehold for all to hear +1 Forswearing any aid from friend or foe +1 The Task is in line with the Suit’s stratagem +1 The Task is in line with the opposing Suit’s stratagem ( Staves vs. Cups / Swords vs. Coins) - 1 For every three changelings participating in the same pledge -1

A s is custom, the reigning King or Queen has the right to call the procession of Suits to order. When this happens, the current state of politics is dissembled and the members of the freehold are called to draw a single card from the Deck ( which has first had the Major A rcana removed) . The card they draw determines the Suit they join, and if they are lucky enough to draw one of the four face cards, then they assume that card’s responsibilities as well. Each changeling in the freehold then represents a single card within the deck. A s is to be expected, most freeholds do not have enough changelings to form an entire deck. It may be chance that determines that one suit is plentiful, while another is sparse, and that is the set up for the Gambit. It may also be that certain face cards are not drawn, and in these cases, those Courts will have to get by without those roles to support them. There is one single exception to this. The original King or Queen who called the Gambit does not draw a card. 6

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Throughout the remainder of the turn, the changeling is expected to pursue their pledge and fail or succeed. The core changelings will go out and attempt to fulfil their pledges, while those unsworn will typically run interference with the fulfilment of those pledges. The game will either run as an internal game, where all the pledges are designed to affect the other members of the freehold within the limited space provided, or an external game where the players must perform their deeds and return at the appointed hour. There are a large number of tactics available in the pursuit of these tasks. They primarily involve the attempted interference of the other Suits’ tricks, or intervention to prevent such interference.

Variant Rules
The following rules can add a little more complexity to the game. They are entirely optional:

Fortune Favours the Brave
When the Gambit is enforced, the influence of the Suits kicks in and creates the following effects throughout the freehold. It should be noted that these benefits extend only to changelings, faerie creatures and the Ensorcelled: • Luck truly does run rampant in the Gambit, the requisite number of successes to gain an exceptional success is reduced by one. That is, an exceptional success can be achieved normally though four successes. • Conversely, if an action fails normally then the chance for it to become a dramatic failure also increases. If, upon a roll with no successes, if any of the dice show a 1, it automatically becomes a dramatic failure ( this may seem strange at first as more dice means failure has a greater chance of becoming a dramatic failure, but more dice also meant the roll had a better chance to succeed in the first place) . • A player may spend a point of Glamour once in a scene to make a single roll again attain the 9- A gain rule ( or upgrade a situation with the 9 A gain rule to the 8 A gain rule for that one instance) .

A t the time of the next draw, the changelings return to the appointed place. A ll pledges are declared fulfilled or forsworn by the Fool, and the total amount of influence is tallied. Then, the Fool makes another Draw. Like the original Draw, the Rule determines who is the ruler of the next turn. However, should a Suit have a higher amount of influence than the numerical value of the Rule ( Pages = 11, Knights = 12, Queens = 13, Kings = 14) , then they are declared the ruler instead. In cases of multiple trumps, the highest wins. In cases of draws, the Fool keeps drawing till one of the tied Suits’ cards is drawn. That Suit then becomes the ruler for the next turn. It should be noted, that the players should all have their cards they originally drew. This means that while some Suits may certainly be larger, or missing their face cards, this gives them an advantage in the draw, as the Suits with fewer players will have more chance of their Suit being drawn. Suits lacking face cards, have chances of very high numbers being drawn that are rarely trumped.

By Hook or By Crook
Not only are the face cards providers of significant roles, they are augmented with particular powers that can be used once during a turn. King: The King’s participation in a pledge grants it a + 2 influence modifier to the A ward or Penalty Queen: The Queen’s participation in any attempts to interfere with an opposing Suit’s pledges automatically grants +2 to all rolls relating to running interference by mystical or occult means. Knight: The Knight’s presence in a pledge offers that group ( or any pledges self- sworn) a bonus 2 to any Resistance draws against physical assaults. Page: If the Page participates in no pledges, they may request from the Fool the details of one of the hidden pledges of one of the Suits. The pledge is chosen by the Fool, though the Page may choose the Suit.

The game will come to an end when one of three things occurs. Stalemate: The game can only go on for so long. A t the beginning of the game, the duration is declared and when this time runs out, the game is at an end. Should the period of the Gambit expire in such a fashion, then the freehold’s normal power reasserts itself. Checkmate: If the ruling Suit trumps a draw of their own Suit. That is, if the Staves are the Ruling Suit, and a three of Staves is drawn, with the Suit having an influence of four, then they gain a state of absolute Rule and win the game. Foolsmate: The Final way for the game to end is through the death of the Fool. However, this is an undesirable ending for most of the payers and is possibly the most dangerous part of the Gambit, ( the risk is party, why it offers up so much protection) . If the Fool is destroyed by treachery, then the freehold is dissolved until the start of the new season. This leaves all of the freehold’s residents without the protection a freehold formally offers.

Lords of Misrule
The Fool shuffles the Major A rcanum into the Deck. Upon performing the Draw, if a Major A rcanum card is drawn, then it triggers a freehold- wide event provoked by the symbolism of that card. A fter this, the Fool must draw another and another until a suit card is drawn. In this manner, a number of Major A rcanum cards may be drawn, each exerting their influence over the freehold. The Fool: This card symbolises capture by the Others. It represents both our kidnapping to A rcadia and our escape through the Hedge. In fact I would suggest it has close affinities to all journeys through the Hedge and newly emerged changelings. The Magician: This is the card representing the Wyrd, and those who would master it. While these mysteries are most closely associated with the Court of A utumn, it can 7

Angelus Morningstar
also represent a greater magical intrigue at play. The workings of faerie magic are strong in this time. The High Priestess: This is the card of the human mystery. It represents the power and intrigue of that part of humanity lost to the changelings. When this card appears it nominally represents the influence of humanity into the freehold, unknowingly. It is also the card of humans within mystery, such as the ensorcelled. The Empress: This is the card of the nurturer. It represents the home and hearth, the mother, the family. With the influence of this card, the significance of changeling families come to the fore. It may mean an external threat to loved ones for the freehold, or the significant of their role. The Emperor: This is the card of the builder, the empire maker. This card represents the strong influence of the current ruling monarch ( for whatever season it is) . It suggests that the freehold's activities rely strongly on his or her leadership and activities right now. The Hierophant: This is the card of human divinity. While changeling may owe allegiances to some divine providence, they still seem the province of humanity at heart. This card represents the pull of such agency, either through their religious institutions or some other unknown Dues ex Machina. The Lovers: This is the card of the Fetch, it represents the influence and play that a Fetch can bring upon a freehold and their resident changelings. The Chariot: This is the card of conflict, of war. While it has strong associations with the Court of Summer, not all conflict comes from within. This is not the subtle Byzantine conflicts of politics, but the brutal politics of conflict and strife. It suggests blood will be spilled. Strength: This is the card of temptations and personal gratification. While it is strongly associated with the Court of Spring, not all yearnings come from their haunts. It suggests that the court is caught up in affairs of the heart ( or other desires) , possibly frivolous, or possibly grandiose. The Hermit: This is the card of isolation. It could be suggesting the influence of bridge- burners or other militant groups. It could be a warning to sever more ties from the mortal world. Whatever the situation, it is a sign of distancing from either A rcadia or the mortal world at large. Wheel of Fortune: This is the card of Fate and the Wyrd. It represents powerful influences of these forces throughout the freehold, and potentially the nearness of A rcadia. Justice: This is the card of oaths and pledges. It suggests that commitments and obligations should be upheld and honoured, or that some form of broken pledge may occur. The Hanged Man: The Others in disguise. It represents the hidden influence of the Fae within the court, either a Fae who is currently trapped as a Charlatan, or loyalists under their sway. Death: This is the card of change. It represents that fundamental political/social or change within the freehold. There is a change in the winds. Temperance: This is the card of prudence and caution. While strongly associated with the Court of Winter, it is not the court exclusivity. It could be advise for a fallow period in the freehold, or for times of reflection and quintessence The Devil: This is the card of servitude. It represents potential capture by the Others, or the work of privateers. It is the fundamental card of bondage and enslavement that brings horror to the freehold. It is a very ominous card. The Tower: This is the card of disaster. Some ruinous activity is set to befall the freehold. Be it an invasion, natural disaster or internal war set to tear them apart. The Star: This is the card of magic itself. It represents the influence of non- faerie magic within the freehold. While it could potentially point to supernal magic, it is any source of mystery that is not ken to changelings. The Moon: This is the card of madness itself. It could mean something that will profoundly shake the clarity of the freehold, or it could mean that an agency of madness itself will wend its way through the freehold. It is a time of uncertainty, treachery, lies, deceit and illusion. ( It may also represent the influence of the Moon Court) . The Sun: This is the card of revelation. It is a period where truth will out and clarity is stabilised. It will represent a time where power triumphs over indignity and illusions are shattered. It is the glory of righteousness and justice to be done. ( It may also represent the influence of the Sun Court) . Judgement: This card suggests that something lost will be restored or returned to the freehold. Someone who has left will return. It is a card of redemption, rejuvenation and reinvigoration for the freehold. The World: This is the card of Earth. To it are attributed all aspects of the mundane world.