Basics of Pledging
- Agreement between two or more (except for Goblin Vows which are handled special, see RoS p38). At least one Lost.
- Broken down by Tasks, Boons, Sanctions, and Duration.
- Each type of item in a section is rated from 1 to 3, named Lesser, Medial, and Greater.
- As of 26 January 2016, pledge aspects will no longer combine.
1) Who is involved in the pledge?
- Always requires two or more people, one of which needs to be Lost obviously.
- One-sided: Only pledge-swearer has task/boon/sanction, but requires a witness who is bound to the pledge at no risk as they have no tasks. Also must be an oath or corporal (see step 7).
- Group: Usually share same things in all categories between all parties, possibly with small variation of the same points (i.e. different adroitnesses for each person).
- Joint: Each party in the pledge has their own task/boon/sanction and shares duration. "You do this for me, I'll do this for you" sort of thing.
2) What is the purpose of the pledge?
Tasks are what gives almost all pledges their purpose (aside from goodies from boons). The expected behaviour enforced by the pledge. Watch out for these. This is the part that if you break, you're in trouble.
- Endeavors: Do something. Either one time thing or lesser repeated thing.
- Lesser (-1): Easy single task or repeated that takes almost no time or effort.
- Medial (-2): Repeated task that requires some time or effort or a single task that could lead to injury.
- Greater (-3): Repeated that takes some major attention or effort or a single task that could risk death.
- Forbiddance: DON'T do something. The more difficult to avoid, the higher impact.
- Lesser (-1): Simply avoid and comes up rarely. Avoiding a specific thing.
- Medial (-2): Comes up more often. Like a category of stuff.
- Greater (-3): Major things. Avoiding an entire city or never eating fruit or meat.
- Alliance: Kind of a combination of Endeavor to aid and Forbiddance to betray. Help and don't betray to varying levels.
- Lesser (-1): Peace pact. Agreement not to hinder one another knowingly.
- Medial (-2): Willingness to aid each other even unto doing injury to others or being injured.
- Greater (-3): Aid even if it means killing or being killed for the person.
- Dreaming (-2): Allows a Lost to enter the dreams of another. Task applies to the Lost and allows them to enter dreams of the other in the pledge (Or others if worded as such).
- Ensorcellment (-2): Allows a Lost to enchant a mortal so that they can see Fae things such as Seemings and Mantles. Task applies to the Lost who is performing the enchantment and always is paired with the Ensorcellment Boon for the mortal being enchanted.
- Fealty (-3): Sworn to a lord or lady of a Freehold to become a member of the freehold and agree to follow all freehold laws and the lord or lady's word. The lord or lady must spend a permanent willpower and all fealty tasks include the vassalage boon and the banishment sanction.
3) What are the benefits of the pledge?
The boons to balance out the stuff you agree to do. Note that some boons are different when enacted on or with mortals.
- Adroitness (+1): Gain a +1 to all rolls involving one chosen skill. Can't stack two adroitnesses on the same skill.
- Blessing: This boon increases or even grants dots in mortal merits. Mortals are given greater benefit than supernaturals gifted this way. Can't stack two separate blessings on the same merit, only the highest takes effect.
- Lesser (+1): Grant new 1 or 2 dot merit to mortal or add 1 dot to existing merit. For supernaturals, grant 1 dot or add 1 dot.
- Medial (+2): Mortals: 3 or 4 dot new merit or +2 to an existing. Supernatural: 2 dot or +2 dot.
- Greater (+3): Mortals: New 5 dot merit or +3 to an existing. Supernatural: 3 dot or +3 dot.
- Favor: Essentially an Endeavor task promised from one pledger to another to be called in later before the Duration has ended. The potential level of the Endeavor is the cost of the Favor. This boon is a one sided boon. The math for this boon only applies to the character receiving the favor. Another equal positive points will have to be assigned to the other members of the pledge.
- Glamour (+2): This boon grants a Lost glamour. When it's a pledge with another Lost, only up to their Wyrd worth of glamour can be transferred. When this pledge is made with a non-Changeling however, the Lost can obtain up to one glamour per day. This boon is a one sided boon. The math for this boon only applies to the character receiving the favor. Another equal positive points will have to be assigned to the other members of the pledge.
- Ensorcellment (+2): The boon to the Mortal who is ensorcelled, allowing them to see Fae things. This boon is a one sided boon. The math for this boon only applies to the character receiving the favor. Another equal positive points will have to be assigned to the other members of the pledge.
- Vassalage (+3): The boon associated with swearing fealty to a freehold ruler, giving the special benefits of that freehold and all the protection under its laws.
4) What happens to the one who breaks the pledge?
Sanctions are the incentive to not break the Tasks. Only the person who breaks the pledge becomes an oathbreaker and is inflicted with the sanctions. Other than Flaw, the Sanction will last from the time of the breaking as long as the Duration of the pledge, even if broken on the very last minute of the very last day.
Note: By Fallcoast house rule, no custom pledge may be made without a sanction.
- Banishment (-3): When banished and in the land banished from, anyone harming the oathbreaker gains 1 glamour if they act to do harm in the scene. If they kill the oathbreaker, they get glamour equal to the oathbreaker's Wyrd. Unlike other sanctions though, this can only be triggered by the lord or lady of the freehold pronouncing it in front of a quarter or more of their vassals. It isn't inflicted by the Wyrd directly but by sentencing.
- Curse: Inflicts horrid luck for the sanction length.
- Lesser (-1): Lose 10-again on all rolls.
- Medial (-2): Only 9s and 10s are successes.
- Greater (-3): Only 10s are successes and any failure is a dramatic failure unless willpower spent.
- Death (-3): When broken, the betrayed party loses a permanent dot of willpower. Within a number of days equal to the Wyrd of the one betrayed (week of mortal) the oathbreaker will die. If before he manages to gain true forgiveness from the betrayed, the willpower dot is restored and the death curse lifted.
- Flaw (-2): Left to the Wyrd to inflict, adds a permanent flaw to the person that is fitting for the oath broken. (i.e. secrecy broken might inflict Mute flaw). Note this is permanent, not sanction-length.
- Pishogue: Allows a Contract to be used as a triggered punishment on an oathbreaker, who gets no resistance to it.
- Lesser (-1): 1 to 2 dot Contract
- Medial (-2): 3 to 4 dot Contract, or two Lesser activations.
- Greater (-3): 5 dot Contract, three lesser, a lesser and medial, or two medial.
- Poisoning the Boon:
- Adroitness (-1): Lose adroitness and take additional -1 to all rolls for duration.
- Blessing (-1 to -3): Lose blessing and equal number of dots from existing merit or take penalties related to things tied to that merit. (i.e. -2 to social rolls for twisted Striking Looks)
- Ensorcellment (-2): Still sees Fae but as horrific things that inflict horrid nightmares
- Favor (-1 to -3): An equal favor is turned over to the betrayed that they can call on
- Glamour (-2): Lose the amount of glamour gained.
- Vulnerability: Leaves the oathbreaker defenseless to the one betrayed.
- Glamour (-2): Get no resistance to the betrayed's Contracts and Wyrd-based abilities.
- Violence (-2): Get no resistance to the betrayed's physical attacks.
- Unnamed Sanction: By CtL p. 182, a Lost can specify a potential value of unnamed Sanction when pledging a mortal and if the mortal breaks the pledge, they can declare at that time the punishment up to that level of Sanction to be whatever they want.
5) How long will the pledge last?
Duration controls the length the pledge will last (and how long the sanction will in turn last)
- Day (+1): Shortest term. 24 hours.
- Week (+1): Precisely seven days to the hour.
- Moon (+2): 28 days and the turning of one moon.
- Season (+2): 89 days, one quarter year.
- Year and a Day (+3): 366 days exactly.
- Decade (+3): 10 years and 10 days precisely.
- Lifelong (+3): Requires one of the pledgers to spend a permanent willpower to empower the pledge.
- Generational (+3): Pledge passes on to children of the original pledgers. Requires one to spend permanent willpower and lasts for a number of generations equal to their Wyrd.
6) Does it total to 0 for each person?
- Determine which values are for which person. If it helps, make a column for each person in the pledge on a paper and total up the four different components: Tasks (which are negative), Boons (positive), Sanctions (negative), and Duration (positive). Each person should come out to 0.
- The easiest way to do it, but not strictly necessary, is to have duration equal sanction and task equal boon.
- Be careful with tasks like Dreaming (that belongs to the one entering dreams) or the boon Favor (which belongs to the one receiving the favor).
7) What sort of pledge is it?
There are three kinds of pledges. Vows, Oaths, and Corporals.
- Vows are built exactly as above and are 'normal' pledges. They however weigh on the Wyrd of each of the Lost bound to them and a Lost cannot have more than Wyrd + 3 vows bound at once.
- Oaths and Corporals empower the pledge into something else and don't count towards this limit, but have additional penalties to the lost if they are broken.
- Oaths are sworn on the Name of something and each Name can only empower one pledge.
- True Name, Obscured: Only usable by those with a living Fetch. Sworn on their name. If broken, the next time they encounter their fetch, they lose resistance to its Echoes, drop to 0 defense and receive a dice pool penalty equal to their Wyrd for the scene. And the Fetch knows to recognize the weakness and when to strike.
- True Name, Unsullied: For those with no fetch, the penalty of swearing on their own name is worse to break. EVERY pledge they have is shattered and they are penalized as if they've broken all of them. Further, everyone they are pledged to instinctively knows they broke their Name oath and few would ever trust such a Lost.
- The Name of the Keeper: Break a Keeper Oath and the Keeper instantly is alerted to it and gains a bonus equal to the oathbreaker's Wyrd to track and recover them. And the benefit can be invoked any time within the next year and a day. (Lost Only)
- Name of a Higher Power: Swear to the Divine (or to a sufficient ideal you believe in strongly like Honor, Justice, etc.) and break it, and be overwhelmed with despair, losing all willpower points and suffering a -1 to the next Clarity roll they make.
- Corporal: Something bound to a physical representation or emblem of some aspect of their lives. Breaking it inflicts losses related to that emblem.
- Mortal Emblem: Something representing the Lost's Mortal associations. Lease to an apt, club membership card, etc. Breaking one of these pledges causes the Wyrd to work to separate the Lost from what they swore on (they get evicted, or lose their membership, or whatever). This requires a 4 dice Clarity degeneration roll regardless of Clarity (-2 penalty if broken because of the Lost side of their life).
- Generally can only have one mortal emblem. But if you have Resources, Allies, Contacts, or Status, they can bind it to the merit. If they break one bound to a merit, they lose the merit entirely (or just one dot for Contacts).
- Seeming Emblem: A representation of their fae nature. If broken, they immediately lose a dot of Wyrd. Generally, two Lost will swear on their own emblem.
- Courtly Emblem: A representation of their connection to their Court or an aligned court. If broken on an aligned Court, they lose all court goodwill with the court. If their own, they lose half their Mantle. And for the next moon, anyone of that court encountering them will sense them as having broken a Courtly corporal.
- Title Emblem: A representation of their entitlement. If broken, they lose benefits of their entitlement until they gain a point of Wyrd and are sensed by members of the Entitlement as an oathbreaker. Generally the peers require some grand quest or effort to be allowed back into the ranks once such a corporal is broken.
- Nemesis Emblem: A personal emblem of another changeling. This changeling acts as an overseer/enforcer of the pledge (The role of Nemesis). At the time of the pledge, they activate a contract and if the pledge is broken that contract comes down on the oathbreaker, and they also know the pledge has been broken.
- Note: A changeling can act as Nemesis to oversee/enforce ONE pledge and can only take part in ONE Nemesis pledge themselves.
8) What cost needs to be paid?
- Generally only one person (usually the one who makes the pledge or initiates it), has to pay a willpower point to seal the pledge.
- Lifetime and Generational require a willpower dot as well.
- Pishogue require at least one glamour be spent to bind the Contract as a Sanction.
9) What is the actual wording of the pledge?
- Wording can either be formal, which usually spells things out more clearly, or casual, which can pass for everyday chatter.
- It should convey all parts of the pledge in some way, though they can be inferred if willing to risk potential double-meaning.
- See the various book example pledge wordings for how loose or strict pledges can be.
- When in doubt, be explicit and don't try to make it pretty.
- Wording of the pledge matters a great deal, especially for tasks as it defines how you can break the task moreso even than the task items chosen to numerically represent it in the pledge. Open-ended endeavors or loosely-worded alliances could lead to unexpected dangers of oathbreaking.
- Wording _CAN_ be twisted to leave loopholes or leave one side unevenly burdened.
- Potentially casual conversation CAN be imbued with a pledge theoretically, though this usually only works to trap mortals in unexpected pledges.
- Either way, always be careful what you promise or seem to agree to.
- This is why some prefer traditional pledges as the meaning has been long-established and there is less room for someone to cheat.
10) What if we want to add someone?
- Adding someone to a group pledge requires every existing person in the pledge to consent and spend 1 willpower while the new member swears in.
- Except for Fealty, which only the lord can add someone to a Fealty pledge.
11) What if we want out of the pledge?
- Pledges are binding until the duration ends. They are not things made lightly or frivolously. One must weigh the risks of breaking the pledge versus continuing on until the duration ends. (in the past players have been let out of pledges if both parties agree. This is intended only when there are unfix-able OOC differences and/or conflicts between players. It is an OOC measure to let players go their own ways, not a way to go back on a deal made icly because the characters suddenly don't feel like it.)
12) What happens if someone Breaks the Pledge
- First, remember we are only a few people Staff wise, and players are legion. We rely on the honor system in regards to pledge breaking. If you think you have even come close to breaking a pledge, please put in a +req to staff. We will make a call if you did or did not break the Pledge, as enforcers of the Wyrd. Please submit early and often, better to tell us if you think you broke it than for us to find out later.
- So, What exactly happens?
- Broken, willingly or on accident: If one member of the pledge breaks it willingly (or on accident), all parties are informed instantly that the pledge has been broken. They are aware /someone/ within the pledge is Oathbroken, but if it is a multiple person pledge then who it is is unknown UNLESS the pledge is a Nemesis or has a Pishogue. The Changeling who held the Contract knows who broke it immediately, as the Contract activates. This is felt as the pledge snapping and is distinct from other methods of the pledge ending.
- Fealty is an exception - Only the Monarch knows that the pledge is broken, not the entire freehold. The sanctions of Banishment do not apply until the Liege can gather 1/4th of the oathbound and declare the Oathbroken Banished. However, any other Sanctions or consequences do apply. The Liege can choose to not do this, and the pledge remains 'Unbroken' though the Changeling who broke the pledge is still known to the Liege as an oathbreaker. Our Fealty Pledges for the Freeholds are Nemesis Pledges, so the Liege will know /who/ broke it immediately. On the other hand, if the Liege breaks a Freehold Pledge, the entire Freehold knows about it.
- Death: If a member of a pledge dies, then all members of the pledge immediately know that the pledge is no longer in effect. This could be from death, but there are other mystical ways for a pledge to be removed. As with Broken, if it is a multiple person pledge then who it is is unknown UNLESS the pledge is a Nemesis or has a Pishogue. The Changeling who held the Contract knows who broke it immediately, as the Contract activates. In a Fealty pledge only the Liege knows this has happened. This is felt as the pledge fizzing out slowly and is distinct from a broken pledge.
- Plot: Sometimes, plot causes a pledge to be no more. If this happens, then every member of the pledge knows that it is no longer in effect. This could be from mystical reasons, but there are other ways for a pledge to be removed. In a Fealty pledge only the Liege knows this has happened. This is felt as the pledge fizzing out slowly and is distinct from a broken pledge.
- OOC Timeout: Unfortunately, a Mush and players Real Life's may mean that one or another member of a pledge idles out or freezes their character. If this happens, the pledge is no longer in effect due to OOC reasons - It is not fair for someone to get the Boons of a pledge without any real risk of the pledge being broken by another party. Why this pledge is no longer in effect is up to the player: Some reasons you might use. Staff has access to code that lets us see if someone is frozen who was in a pledge, but if your pledge partner freezes, please go ahead and put in a +req/pledge job to discuss how you want to close it out.
- Mystical Unbinding - but this leaves a puzzle, and is not ideal.
- Release - The player who froze might have come to you to be released before they disappeared. This is a little meta gamey, but possibly the most ideal situation.
- Still there... sorta - You can continue to play that the Pledge is still in effect, but you do not receive the mechanical benefits of the pledge. This is best for short pledges that would expire soon anyways.