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Changeling House Rules
Let the Buyer Beware
Every freehold knows of at least one. Some seem to have grown up almost overnight, like a ring of small white mushrooms. Others seem to have run for millennia, outliving the rise and fall of the freeholds that surround them. They’ll never go away entirely, despite the dangers of their wares. Someone always needs something you can only get at a Goblin Market.
Every Market has its laws, usually outgrowths of standard business practices extended through fae magic and enforced by a variety of ugly pledges and slinking enforcers. The following laws are certain to be enforced at all Goblin Markets, barring very unusual practices — the sort that tend to lead to Markets crumbling after only a few moons. Each Goblin Market may add on a number of potential laws and rules to suit their business: some straightforward (“No deals offered before midnight”) and some bizarre (“Only the Market Guards are permitted to wear red hats within the market’s conﬁnes”). There’s always some oblique reason, even if the merchants won’t say what it is. If a pact of protection from the True Fae will dissolve if a pregnant black cat enters the market’s borders, are the goblins going to explain to their customers why cats aren’t allowed on the premises? Give away a weakness like that? Madness
- No Violence Goblin merchants won’t be intimidated, and they won’t tolerate people trying to injure their customers. Bad for business.
- You Get What’s Advertised If a merchant tells you that a tenpenny nail has the power to kill someone when it’s driven into its victim’s shadow, it has that power. It may have other side effects, mind, and the method of death may be something unexpected and inconvenient — but you get what’s advertised. Note, though, that there is no law requiring a merchant to advertise all the properties or catches to his wares, and there never will be.
- Honor Your Deals This cuts both ways. A merchant must provide the wares, and the customer must provide payment. Defaulting on a deal is more than just bad form (and a potential Clarity hit) — it riles up the Market, potentially against the whole freehold and certainly against the defaulter.
- No Refunds If you regret trading away something, you’d better ﬁnd something the merchant really wants in order to buy it back — at an inﬂated rate, most likely. That’s a brand-new deal.
- Capture When everything is for sale, all it takes is one slip up for a buy to become merchandise. The Good Folk visit the markets after all, and while even the Gentry are bound by Market Law, they are still there to buy. That's not even including the traders that hock goods at the doors of Arcadia or the privateers that prowl the stalls. If a Changeling looks they'd fetch a good price and are vulnerable, they may very well find themselves being snatched up by a merchant despite the violation of Market rules. If the kidnapping can be uncovered in time, justice may be brought about and the Changeling freed. However, savy would be abductors will capture victims outside the Market boundaries. In those case, the Market Law doesn't apply.
- Blunders The rules of a Market can be byzantine to say the least and every market place is different. While merchants and guards will normally explain if asked, they don't waste their time trying to hand hold naive every naive Changeling that passes by their stalls. Even when all the declared laws are known, there is an often entire other set of etiquette to follow that is unofficial and unspoken. Then there are the preferences of a particular hob. None of these are guarantee to make any sense either. Generally, offending a merchant by crossing unspoken taboos will result in them raising their prices or not doing business with the Changeling at all. Acutally breaking Market Law is another matter. Punishments can vary between banishment from the Market, to the loss of a hand, to being required to sing a bawdy song at the top of your voice for twelve minutes. Some blunders, on the other hand, may be decidedly more dangerous to make.
- And Death Most rules are not so strict that the goblins are willing to loose a customer over them. Even banishment normally only lasts a set time (though permanent exile from a Market is not unheard of either). That said, killing or torturing a merchant, destroying their stalls and livelihood (such as free a large group of slaves), or sabotaging the Market at large, can all result in the marketeers calling for the Lost's head. If the Changeling does these things outside of the boundary of their jurisdiction, the Market may send assassins out to kill them. More often, the will try to capture the foolish Changeling and drag them before a their 'court'. “Market justice” they call it. If the unfortunate soul is lucky, the merchants will allow them to play a game of chance to live. The game is often rigged and the rules not entirely explained. Using Contracts to set up a loss in common. Most people end up with a bullet in there head afterwards. Even those that escape with their lives are not left unscathed. They are beaten to within an inch of death, often branded and scarred in a horrible manner, and then left in the Hedge far from any path or trod they know.
There's something for everyone at a Goblin Market. You can find vendors sell Hedgespun, Goblin Contracts, Goblin Fruit. If you're looking for more a more powerful Token there's sure to be some a few stalls down. In the dark tents Privateers sell their Slave to the Gentry and unscrupulous Lost. If you're willing to part with a cherished childhood memory you can get Second-Hand Skills, freshly stolen from the dead and desperate. You can even find sellers willing to transform you in more instinct ways that can grant whole new merits and skill sets. While they aren't guaranteed to have exactly what you want, the wide variety of wares and goods means that they can probably provide something close. So long as you're willing to pay the price and accept the catch. Did the merchant not mention a catch?
Sorry, no refunds.
Getting a Good Deal
For marketeers there are two important things. How much something is worth and how much someone is willing to pay for it. However, when selling things like the last breeze of spring and the regrets of an old woman, how the value of things becomes much harder to pin down.
- O Goblin Contract surcharge or finder’s fee, Minor Hedgespun accessories (scarves, hats and the like), Goblin Market guides
- 1 Common goblin fruits and oddments, most Hedgespun, Leesser Goblin Contracts, Local freehold guide, Untrained minor Slave, Token
- 2 Rare goblin fruits, Unusual Hedgespun, Medial Goblin Contracts, Untrained medial Slave, Trained minor Slave, Local Hedge Guide, Token
- 3 Major Goblin Contracts, Untrained incredible Salve, Hedge guide to another freehold, Mentorship in standard Contracts, Token
- 4 Mentorship in unusual contracts, Goblin Market membership, Deep Hedge guide or guide to the gates of Arcadia, Token
- 5 Well-trained competent Slave, Unique items of incredible power
The "prices" listed are estimates and go beyond simply the experience required to make a purchase. They are what the character must give up or aquire to make the purchase. These costs generally come in three varieties Abstractions (ephemeral and intangible concepts and ideas), curiosities (items of unique or mystical value), and living merchandise (pets, children, or your spouse would all fetch a nice price). Merchants generally name a price one or two ranks higher than the value of an items and must be haggled down.
- O Abstractions (Unimportant): mildly enjoyed song, a boring memory, a bad dream; Curiosities (Common): An unusual Goblin fruit, a Hedge thorn, a mundane mirror, a small token in the shape of a flame, a chunk of naturally frozen ice; <b.Living Merchandise (Mundane):</b> Cats, dogs, cows, or any other animals with few exceptions, particularly minor Hedge creatures
- 1 Abstractions (Trifling): a kiss, a good dream, a whispered secret; Curiosities (Curiosity): Strange handcrafted music box, a copy of Peter Pan in which a child sketched his nightmares, a tortilla on which there is an image of the Virgin Mary; Living Merchandise (Uncommon): Unusual animals (whether due to species, such as a cougar, or circumstance, such as the runt of the litter), mentally or physically handicapped adult humans, children
- 2 Abstractions (Important): a day spent with a childhood friend, an enjoyable song or poem, a visit to a favorite museum, an intense erotic dream; Curiosities (Unusual): A witch’s finger, a spider that has been scared to death, a vampire’s fang, a fading ember that will not go out unless spat upon; Living Merchandise (Useful): Average adult human laborers, guards, soldiers or teachers, small Hedge creatures
- 3 Abstractions(Beloved): A favorite song, a beautiful memory, an adored sibling’s face, a favorite concert, an incredibly uplifting dream; Curiosities (Heirloom): Grandfather’s pocket watch, a rare Rosicrucian manuscript, a Token given to the Lost by her Mentor; Living Merchandise(Unusual): Particularly skilled humans (such as doctors), terribly beautiful humans or animals, humans touched by the supernatural (such as psychics, ghouls, and wolf-bloods), strong Hedge Beasts
- 4 Abstractions (Crucial): a beloved parent's name, a part of the buyer's True name, a hated memory of Arcadia, a powerful dream shared with another, a broken heart; a dot in a Skill; Curiosities (Minor Artifact): A Gutenberg Bible, a chair from the Amber Room, a werewolf pelt, the lost log from a sunken slaver vessel; Living Merchandise Auspicious): A seventh son of a seventh son, a changeling, a firstborn infant, a powerful and intelligent Hedge Beast
- 5 Abstractions (Life-Changing): The buyer’s first kiss, own magnum opus, True Name, a dream shared with a dead beloved, an important sexual escapade, Kith blessing; two dots in a Skill; Curiosities (Unique Artifact): Hitler’s molar, Lewis Carroll’s fountain pen, a sword forged in Arcadia, the key to a Gentry’s keep; Living Merchandise (Impressive): Non-fae supernatural creatures (such as mages or werewolves), particularly potent or unusual changelings
- 6 Abstractions (Epic): The memory that guided the Lost home from Arcadia, all of high school or college, every sexual experience; three or more dots in a Skill; Curiosities (Legendary Artifact): The Lance of Longinus, Excalibur, Odysseus’s Bow, the Holy Grail, a pearl from a dragon’s forehead; Living Merchandise (Incredible): A live dragon, unicorn or similar difficult to locate and capture creature