"You trying to start something with me? Bring it on, punk! Heh, heh, heh! I'll paint the walls with your blood!"
Redcaps are nightmarish beings with a definite thirst for blood. While not needing it to survive the way Vampires do, they are violent, brutal, and cruel. Their name comes from the old tradition of taking white wool caps and dipping them in the blood of their victims. This practice is now seen as quaint, as the Redcaps have much better uses for blood, such as staining the walls with it. Born of dreams of war and hostility, they have no mercy and revel in the terror of others. Their way of life disgusts others, not least by their diets, which includes anything and everything they can chew. They have an affinity to the Nature Realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
Greyish, rubbery skin, pointed ears, bony noses, bloodshot eyes, and large, flat, yellow teeth are all marks of a Redcap. Their bodies are built for combat, with thick legs and stocky builds. Given their penchant for cities and brawls the clothing they wear likely skews towards durable items such as boots, flak jackets and things bought at army surplus stores.
Rude, brash, bully-types, Redcaps often congregate in gangs known as Corbies. A Corby of Redcaps might appear to mortals as a local street gang, so it's to be expected that most will be involved in some sort of criminal behavour. Those that do keep their noses clean are usually employed in professions that take advantage of their natural tendencies, such as Boxing, working in clubs and bars as Bouncers, working in Gyms, or even as rough Cops (though that might be restricted to the rather rare Seelie Redcaps).
The majority of Redcaps are Unseelie. Given their vile deeds and horrific hunger, it comes as no surprise that they skew towards the darker end of the spectrum. It is not uncommon to see Redcaps embroiled with the Shadow Court, either, though as with all Shadow Court members those involved don't usually advertise. The few Seelie Redcaps that exist are an endangered species, being hunted down by their fellow Unseelie Redcaps. Their tiresome speeches about chivalry get on their bretherens' nerves, sparking fights that usually end in the deaths of the more honourable Redcaps. Those that survive typically descend into their Unseelie legacies, tinged with bitterness and hate.
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Childling Redcaps are bullies, and the tyranny of the playground is their law. Their hobbies are more sadistic than deadly. The pain of others fills them with glee.
"Wilders are worse. As gangsters, vandals, and malcontents, they live to ruin the lives of others, even in the simplest of ways. Body-piercing and tattooing are competitive art forms among them, and they prefer to adorn themselves with needles, chains, bolts, and screws. A Redcap's first piercing is a ride of passage, regardless of whether or not it involves her conscent.
"Grumps earn the admiration of the Unseelie court, and they demand respect with violence, arrogance and threats. Some gangbangers make the mistake of challenging these old bastards, but few survive. Their prowess in battle is truly astounding and utterly ruthless.
Birthrights, Frailties, Merits, and Flaws
As with all Kiths, Redcaps have some traits that are specific to them.
Dark Appetite - Redcaps can literally eat anything. They can chew through cars and eat their way through walls. Their bulldog teeth are brutally flat and hard as steel; their digestive systems (thankfully) remain a mystery. Most prefer human or animal meat, but when hunger strikes, anything will do. We do mean anything. As long as a Redcap can put his mouth around something, he can eat it. Large objects can be chewed into smaller pieces. Digesting something particularly vile or tough (such as wood, steel, romance novels or toxic waste) requires the expenditure of a point of Glamour. Keep all arms and hands away from Redcaps at all times. Any Time a Redcap attempts to use this Birthright in combat, he must spend a point of Glamour, just as if he were trying to eat something not normally edible. The base damage for a Redcap bite is Strength + 2 (difficulty 5). Additionally, the Redcap may try to sever an opponent's limb. Severing a limb with this ability requires five successes on a Dexterity + Brawl roll (difficulty 8), or three successes if the victim has been grappled first. This attack inflicts a minimum of three Health Levels of damage if successful, in addition to any damage rolled.
Bully Browbeat - Redcaps can intimidate anything, even imaginary or chimerical objects. The difficulties of all Intimidation rolls are reduced by one. A successful roll causes Chimera to obey without question; sentient creatures can resist with Willpower (rolled at a difficulty equal to the Redcap's Willpower). This Birthright functions normally at all times, even in the presence of mortals or unenchanted supernaturals.
Bad Attitude - No one likes a Redcap, not even other Redcaps. Some noble freeholds try to ostracize or kill Redcaps just on general principles. As part of this stigma, they suffer a +2 difficulty (or greater) for any roll involving a social situation other than browbeating.
Faster (1pt) - This doesn't refer to the speed at which a Redcap moves, or eats, or does anything else. Instead, a Redcap with Faster can actually go 24 hours without eating. By spending a willpower point, the player can then have the character go another 24 hours, and so on until he runs out of Willpower. The downside to being a Faster, unfortunately, is that once the fast ends, the Redcap is compelled to eat enough to make up for all of the days he skipped. Furthermore, he'll feel the need to do so immediately.
Granite Skin (2pts) - Some Redcaps are tougher than others. Some, in fact, are a great deal tougher than others, in part because in fae mien, their skin is quite literally stone. The stone is not more than skin deep, thankfully--it's quite literally an epidermal layer, and that's all. However, it does make a Redcap a great deal tougher than she might be normally, as well as leaving small flakes and chips of stone behind every time she bends or flexes. A Redcap with Granite Skin has the equivalent of two levels of armour at all times, with no area of her anatomy considered unarmoured. On the downside, Granite Skin also provides a +1 difficulty to all rolls involving moving quietly. The constant flaking and chipping of stone makes it nearly impossible for the Redcap to move without making some noise. And let's not even discuss the romantic implications.
Unforgettable Taste (5pts) - In a sense, Redcaps are the fae world's most sincere epicures. They've got a taste for everything, and they never forget a taste. However, some of them do a bit better at it than others, especially when moving food is involved. A Redcap with Unforgettable Taste has a remarkable knack for remembering the taste of everything she's ever eaten, and being able to identify it instantly if she tastes it again. Furthermore, the Merit grants the ability to sense where the nearest supply of that taste might be. Under normal circumstances, that's fairly unremarkable. Being able to tell where the nearest batch of chocolate mousse or porterhouse steak doesn't really do much in the grand scheme of things. On the other hand, if the Redcap has gotten a bite of someone, the Merit serves as an excellent way to track that meal. Creative Redcaps have found other uses for this power, including tracking down poisons.
Aversion (1-5pts) - They say that Redcaps can and will eat anything. In most cases, they're right, but a Redcap with this flaw is the exception who proves the rule. A Redcap who has an aversion won't eat something (or a whole catagory of things, depending on the number of points taken for the flaw). One point might be an aversion to strawberries, while five would be something much broader, like meat, vegetables, or inanimate objects. A Redcap who accidentally eats something he has an aversion to is in a great deal of trouble. A Stamina roll is required (difficulty 6), otherwise he'll immediately upchuck everything in his stomach. Furthermore, any time he wants to do anything more strenuous than walk for the next half hour, a Willpower roll (difficulty 6) is nessecary to see if another attack of nausea hits. Storytellers should take a great deal of care not to let this flaw be abused. It's very easy to pick up points with an aversion to, say, rutabagas or left-handed can openers. Aversions should be real and important, or at least worth the points recieved for them.
Chicken Claws (3pts) - Some legends of Redcaps gift them with chickens' claws in place of their hands or feet. This condition is rare, but occasionally present among modern-day Redcaps, though any Kithian who suffers from this flaw is bound to be the subject of much derision from his peers. A Redcap with chicken claws for hands is at a +1 difficulty for all Dexterity-based rolls involving manual dexterity, while one with chicken claws instead of feet is at the same disadvantage for all rolls related to dodging, running, and so forth. Note that the claws are rather more menacing than one would guess from their name--claws are claws, no matter what animal they came from.
Stolen Tooth (3pts) - Another one of the long-standing Redcap legends ascribes a rather unique weakness to the Kith: A Redcap can only be killed if one of his teeth is smashed on an altar stone. Many brave (and not terribly intelligent) souls attempted to prove or disprove this theory; most instead proved the parallel theory that anyone seeking something from a Redcap's mouth is unlikely to be coming home. However, certain Redcaps have managed to lose, one way or another, one of their teeth. Will the Redcap be destroyed if that tooth is shattered in an appropriate place? Who knows, but what is certain is that any Redcap possessing this flaw will do anything to get his tooth back. Retrieving the tooth takes precedent over any other activity to the point of mania. Why? Because those old legends might just be right after all.
Views on Other Kith
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Don't Move. Danny Sandbags, a squire to Sir Du Bois, is going to give you his opinion.
On Boggans - If you ever need laundry done, go to one of them. Too bad they're so easily shocked by bloodstains.
On Eshu - You're a fool if you gamble with an Eshu. They've got some great stories from the battlefield, though.
On Nockers - What a pain in the ass these guys are! Bitch, Bitch, Bitch. I'll give em' something to cry about!
On Pooka - Hmmm...Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about those traps I set.
On Satyrs - If you're looking for some strong brew or a babe, these guys will hook you up.
On Sidhe - Stay clear of the Sidhe. They may look weak, but they'll turn you into sushi with their blades. And if they sic the freehold on you--sucks to be you.
On Sluagh - And they say I'm sick? Have you seen where Sluagh live?
On Trolls - Tough in a fight. Dumb, but tough. Your best bet is to try to outnumber them.