"Yeah, that's what you think! What would you know about @#%&*? I don't take advice from someone who smells as bad as you do! Now either quit stinking the place up, or have a bath in my lye-scrubbing machine!"
Foul-mouthed and surly, the Knockers were born of dreams of tinkering. Though their origins are vague, in today's society they are both valued and detested. They have the gift to weave all sorts of mechanical devices out of the stuff of the Dreaming, but as they always find fault in their creations, their tempers are legendary. As such, they are prone to swearing and to testing the limits of any relationship they may forge, business or otherwise. While poking and prodding at machines and toys may be a good way to improve them, such is not the case with others, and this has earned them a bad reputation. At their best, they can be annoying, and their worst, outright nasty. Still, most of their anger is hot air, and they can make powerful, loyal allies with a gift for crafting weapons and armour. They have an affinity with the Prop realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
Nockers are related to Goblins, giving them a distinctive gangly, knobby appearance. Typically, their faces white and painted with some sort of pattern, with bright red noses and cheeks being very common. Their teeth are like sharks, their hair as wild and varied as the Joker. Their skin is thick and reddish and they sport pointed ears and prominent eyebrows. They like high court fashion, second only to the Sidhe. Frilled collars, sleeves, puffed shoulders and vests, and intricate patterns of curls, spirals, and swirls are all common.
Being the cranky lot they are, they don't get along well with others. Close relationships tend to be rare and require quite a bit of patience from both sides. Their mechanical aptitude makes them naturals in fields like Information Technology, Auto Repair, Engineering, and other machine persuits.
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Childlings carry an imp of the perverse. They will tinker with machines to destruction. Most would rather take things apart than fix them. How else are you going to find out how something works?
"Wilders get their kicks from the modern world--cars and computers are all the rage. All the machines they experiment with see second-rate; there's always room for a few "improvements". Unseelie solve this with more tech; Seelie deconstruct moern devices into classical components. Regarless of Court, wilders are eminently critical of other people's designs.
"Grumps slowly lose their edge and take it out on everyone around them. They settle into positions of authority from which they can drive younger Kithian insane with their continuous criticisms and interference.
Birthrights, Frailties, Merits, and Flaws
As with all Kiths, there are a few traits specific to Nockers.
Forge Chimera - Nockers can create simple, nonliving chimera. If an artisan has basic working knowledge of how a device operates, she can conceive of how to build a better version. In general, her creation cannot involve electricty, magnetism or chemical reactions, though Storytellers can feel free to allow Nocker characters to break this rule for extremely creative devices. To create chimera, the Nocker needs raw chimerical material and a fore or machine shop of some kind. The creative process is represented by extended rolls of Intelligence + Crafts. The difficulty and number of successes depends on the size and complexity of the project. With five successes at a difficulty of 5 a Nocker can create simple items (doors, baseball bats), 10 or more successes at a difficulty of 9 can result in large or highly complex items (siege engines, semi-automatic knive throwers, and so on). Nockers must have some degree of privacy when constructing chimera. While it is possible for Kithian to be present, a Nocker cannot work with chimerical materials in the presence of mortals.
Fix-It - Nockers are masters of machines, and everyone knows it. A few harsh words or well-timed threats can intimidate a malfunctioning machine into working properly. A Nocker can fix nearly any mechanical device by making a successful Intelligence + Crafts or Intimidation roll. The difficulty can range from a 5 (for simple, familiar problems) to as high as 10 (a complex machine that's really acting up). This takes time and a lot of hostility, but Nockers generally have both in spades. Many a balky engine block has been frightened into working properly by a Nocker simply growling at it. In addition, Seelie and Unseelie craftspersons can choose different specialties during character creation. Seelie can choose one anachronistic device (water wheels, steam engines, pulley systems) and get a -1 difficulty on any roll to fix, manipulate or control that device. Unseelie get the same bonus with one type of high-tech or modern device. This birthright functions normally when in the presence of mortals.
Flaws - Nockers are cynical because they're such perfectionists. They can always see ways for things to work better, but they can never quite achieve their ideals. Some say this is a curse from the First Artisan; oters claim it's a karmic debt for their attitude problem. Regardless, anything a Nocker creates will have one trivial (but irreparable) flaw. This serves as a constant frustration to the artisan who's crafted it. Even if the nocker scores five or more successes on a creation roll (a complete success), there will still be an elusive, annoying fault.
Tunnel Vision (2pts) - Most Nockers are adept at working under low light and in poor visibility conditions, but you have inherited a gift from the original goblin miners. You can see in absolute darkness as though it was daylight; you suffer no vision penalties under such conditions. You can also see better than most in fog, mist and in other situations where visibility is obscured. The difficulties of your Perception rolls are never increased by more than one when your vision is obscured by a fog or mist.
Speedy Hammer (3pts) - You are a fast and talented worker, even for your Kith. When building or repairing something, the difficulty of your craft roll is reduced by one. Additionally, you require one to three fewer successes on any extended rolls required when working on large or complex projects. This merit also reduces the difficulties of all mining rolls by two.
Work with Iron (5pts) - Most Nockers cannot abide the touch of iron in any way, but your skin is resistant to its bite for some reason. This ability allows you to work in many real-world situations, and other Nockers envy you, though they also consider your condition somewhat suspect. This Merit is essentially the same as Iron Resistance (see Changeling: The Dreaming second edition); however, not only are you immune to iron, but your chimerical works are similarly resistant.
Troglodyte (1-4pts) - You are a throwback to the original goblins and are used to life underground. Bright lights bother you, and it's difficult for you to see in situations involving anything brighter than fire light. If you have the one-point Flaw, you are merely sensitive to bright lights; the difficulties of all Perception rolls based on sight are increased by two in situations involving sunlight. This difficulty is lowered by one if you wear dark glasses. If you have the four-point Flaw, you are a true troglodyte. Your eyes are luminous saucers in your fae mien. Light hurts your eyes, and gives you a splitting headache. You are completely blind in any surroundings brighter than firelight, though you can see if you wear extremely dark glasses. Even with such protection, the difficulties of all activities involving sight under such circumstances are increased by three.
Foul Mouth (2 pts) - All Nockers cuss, but your use of profanity puts others to shame. Your mouth spews forth a never-ending torrent of obscenities. Even other Nockers find you tiresome. They know when to shut up in court, and when enough is enough. You just keep going. You even have a hard time with short conversations on the telephone. Basilisk Stones shatter overnight in your hands. this Flaw precludes you from ever holding a respectable job of any kind in human society.
Goblin Magnet (2pts) - Goblins really like you and want to be your pal. They show up late at night and get into your tools while you're trying to work. They think it's uproariously funny when they tell the Duchess that you think she has a face like a horse. (Well, she does!) Things tend to explode around you. No matter how much you tell the goblins to furk off, they just laugh and want to hand with you all the more. On the bright side, almost everyone else leaves you alone.
Disbarred (2-5 pts) - You have broken Nocker prohibitions. Maybe you sold proscribed technology, failed to live up to a contract or mistreated one of your golems. In any event, your actions reflected badly on other Nockers, and the Bes Din took your inventor license away. You may no longer practice your craft legally. The player and the Storyteller should decide together what the character did and how serious the infraction was. If it was minor, you are only on probation; the Bes Din may eventually reinstate your license pending good behaviour and special services on your part. You may be working off your debt currently. The Storyteller decides when it has been paid off. This is a two-point Flaw. Nockers who have committed particularly heinous crimes may lose their inventor licenses forever. This is a five-point Flaw.
Views on Other Kith
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Be patient with Drago McHenry. He seems to be having a little trouble with the Duke's 57' Chevy.
On Boggans - Heh! They think they're so good at what they do. Sloppy, rustic folk. You want something done right, do it yourself.
On Eshu - Yabber, yabber, yabber. They'll talk your ears off about places you'll never see. Tricky #@&*#s!
On Pooka - Frivolous! Wasting their time on pranks and nonsense. What's that gonna get 'em?
On Redcaps - -I guess I can get along with them...until they get pissed off.
On Satyrs - They seem to think that the glamourous live means sleeping around and swilling wine. They deserve what they get: trouble!
On Sluagh - Buncha freaks. Most of 'em need to get a tan. Then again, most of them need to get a life. What's to trust?
On Trolls - They aren't as bright as they think they are. If you want to associate with Trolls, make sure you're on their good side.