"Why did you come here to my attic and disturb my rest? Are you here to find something from long ago? Be careful you don't open something you can't close..."
Born from fear and tales of all manners of creatures creepy and crawly, Sluagh are dark, pale, and tragic. The waifs wander about whispering out their secrets when they see fit. Politeness is second nature to this Kith; the same holds true for secrecy. The Sluagh are masters at gathering information, but they're not too keen on releasing their secrets, not without a favour or something else in return. Due to their rigidness, deathly appearance and mysterious ways, few of the other Kiths trust the Sluagh. They have come to accept their station in life, at times just sitting back and watching the other Kiths with dry amusement. They don't like being disturbed by the boorish Kithian who sometimes refer to them as the Underfolk. In fact, they delight in their unnerving of the other Changelings. Sluagh have an affinity with the Prop realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
A Sluagh's hair is jet black 9 times out of 10, and all the other times it's nearly as dark. Their ashen complexion, sunken eyes and slight stench of decay makes them seem vaguely dead. As they age, the smell grows stronger and their skin begins to droop, which they seem to enjoy. A feature that some other Kithian forget about is a Sluagh's lack of teeth; Often times, this is when a fellow Changeling is blaming a Sluagh for something her Thallian cousins did. Though not always the case, most Sluagh dress in antiquitated clothing, much like the decrepid Victorian mansions they like to enhabit.
As a general rule, Sluagh keep to themselves. Their prowess with stealth, information (and secret) gathering, and overall privacy make them excellent in the darker trades. Information Brokers, Assassins, Couriers, and Oracles are common among Sluagh. Though untrusted by most, some Sluagh are brave enough to venture out to court and mingle, though every Sluagh, brave or not, needs his or her space to be alone. Sluagh can be very territorial, and demand rigid adherence to standards of ettiquite that other fae sometimes just don't understand. AS off-putting as this may seem, it's second nature to a Sluagh.
Due to their apathetic view on the courts, Sluagh don't really align with Seelie or Unseelie most of the time. It doesn't help that most of the tenants of both courts aren't things the Sluagh adhere strongly to, or at least strongly enough to go with either side. Despite this, it is more common to see an Unseelie Sluagh than a Seelie one, mostly because they seem to be treated better by their less "upstanding" peers.
Sluagh relate best amongst themselves. Naturally, most of a Sluagh's friends and contacts will be with her own kind. Sluagh often hold High Teas where they sit with their fellow Sluagh, drink (watered down) tea and eat (moldy) crumpets, and discuss the latest gossip. Through this method, they renew their Sluagh ties, gain valuable information, and come as close as possible to hanging out with friends. Once in a blue moon an outsider will be invited to Sluagh High Tea; it is considered a great honour and should not be taken lightly.
Coupled with a Sluagh's love of tea and formality comes a code that few outside of the Sluagh know about: the Sluagh Telegraph Teacups. Every Sluagh's tea set has within it some innate glamour, and by pouring the favourite tea of a fellow Sluagh (or, in theory, anyone with a Sluagh tea set), a Sluagh can attempt to contact them. If the other party is within range of their tea set, they will hear the code, and can then respond by tapping a tea spoon on the side of their cup. To contact another using this method, the establishing party must know the other's favourite tea. (The code is a variation on Morse Code, and anyone with an etiquette of at least 3 and a specialty in Sluagh is familiar with the code. For story purposes, and for those who own the sets and are not Sluagh, these tea cups are considered a 3-point Treasure.)
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Childlings are street urchins who take very poor care of their appearance. Their clothes are torn, their hair is disheveled, and they arouse great sympathy for their suffering. They delight in all that disgusts human children, and hold a strong affinity for hidden places.
"Wilders are the guardians of the uncovered spots of the world. As they grow older, their skin grows paler and their hair turns jet black. They have dark, hollow eyes and elongated limbs, fingers, and toes.
"Grumps age at an alarming rate. Their skin hangs on them like it is somehow too large for them, their hair is soon streaked with shocking grey, and their bodies become warped, stooped, and crooked. Oddly enough, they seem to enjoy this. Sluagh prize decay in many forms, and this is but one more.
Birthrights, Frailties, Merits, and Flaws
As with all kiths, Sluagh have certain traits only they have.
Squirm - Dislocating boy parts is a popular amusement for these desiccated creatures. Confining them is almost impossible. Although they cannot change their shape or mass, underfolk can contort into disquieting shapes with unnatural ease. This requires a few minutes of entertainment and a roll of Dexterity + Atheletics; the difficulty ranges from a 6 (escaping from ropes) to a 10 (worming through the bars of a locked cell). The only substance that can completely imprison them is, of course, cold iron. A Sluagh cannot use this Birthright in the presence of mortals or the unenchanted.
Sharpened Senses - The unusual upbringing of these fae heightens their senses. Subtract two from the difficulty for any Perception roll a Sluagh makes (to a minimum of 3). They may see through illusory magic by making a roll of Perception + Alertness (difficulty 7). This Birthright functions normally in the presence of mortals or the unenchanted. It is impossible for Sluagh to botch Stealth or Alertness rolls.
Curse of Silence - Sluagh cannot speak above a whisper, no matter how hard they strain to be heard. Since they dislike social situations and hold to very odd rules of etiquette, add two to the difficulty of all of their Social rolls. While a Sluagh may not appear to whisper to mortal ears, they individual in question is usually quite soft-spoken.
Dexterous Toes (1pt) - Hands tied? Too many things to hold? Not to worry--with Dexterous Toes you can work equally well with hands or feet. A Sluagh with this Merit can do anything she can do with her hands (fire a gun, play a musical instrument, etc.) just as well with her feet. Of course, a Sluagh carting items with her toes will be unable to walk.
Nightsight (3pts) - Night blinds many eyes, but not yours. Regardless of the lighting conditions, your eyes adjust automatically, so that you can see equally well at high noon or midnight. The adjustment is instantaneous, so that if you are standing in a dark room and someone lights a candle, you are not blinded.
Prehensile tongue (3pts) - One of the things that has earned the Sluagh a far worse reputation than perhaps they deserve, the Prehensile Tongue is something that comes in handy when one has no free hands. Essentially, your tongue is another limb, able to reach up to two feet from your mouth in order to grasp and wield objects. While a Prehensile Tongue doesn't make for the best of weapons, it still can be used for a poke in the eye or a revolting slap. (Players must make a Stamina roll, difficulty 6, if their characters are touched with a Prehensile Tongue; failure leaves the characters overcome with sheer disgust for a turn.) Note: In order for a Sluagh to use a Prehensile Tongue to pick something up or something else along those lines, the player must roll Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 7). A success indicates that the Sluagh is in full control of his extra limb and need not check again this scene to see if he can use it. A failure indicates that the specific attempt fails; a botch leaves the protruding tongue hanging disgustingly limp down the character's front.
Friend to Spiders (4pts) - This Merit might more properly be called "Friend to Arthropods", but it was with the spiders that the sluagh first spoke, and hence the name remains. Nor is the relationship implied in the Merit's name as much as a friendship as it is a business transaction, but even the Sluagh have their sacrosanct traditions. If you are a Friend to Spiders, you can speak to all manner of creeping, crawling creatures (when the player makes a Perception + Enigmas roll, difficulty 7). While the conversation isn't as much an exchange of pleasantries as it is a swap of images and impressions, a tremendous amount of information can be gained by speaking with spiders in this fashion. Recent passerby can be noted, changes in the wind (and what they bear) can be uncovered, and other bits of vital information that might otherwise have passed you by can be gleaned from taking the time to speak with eight-legged informants. The number of successes earned indicated the clarity of information learned.
Fly Fingers (4pts) - In your fae seeming, your fingers end in suction cups akin to those of a fly. You are capable of climbing sheer walls, hanging upside down from ceilings, and otherwise defying gravity as long as you have something to hold onto. (The player must make a Dexterity + Atheletics roll.) Note: The fingers in question cannot be gloved in order for Fly Fingers to work. The toes of a Sluagh with this Merit are similarly affected, though the fingers alone are enough to support a Changeling's weight.
Dead Friends (4pts) - Sluagh have always been able to see, and sometimes talk to Wraights. However, you've gone beyond that sort of casual contact to the point where you've made friends with a few of those who've passed on. They bring you information, spy on your enemies, and generally keep you up to date on things that no living informant could ever possibly uncover. Having contacts who walk through walls can be extremely useful sometimes. On the other hand, these friends will expect you to do them favours as well, and some of those requests can get pretty bizarre. Plus, you never know when your nice Wraith friend is suddenly going to get nasty for no apparent reason, and he knows where you live...
Puddle (5pts) - As the centuries slithered past, the Sluagh slowly lost their ability to assume any form they desired. Gradually they became more and more restricted in the shapes they could assume, eventually being locked in a more-or-less human guise. But not you. With the Puddle Merit, you can reduce your form to a flattened pool of goo on the ground, ooze through the smallest cracks and crannies, and pour yourself into containers that shouldn't be able to hol you--and then assume your proper form, none the worse for wear. This trick is particularly useful for spies, couriers, and assassins. In order for a Sluagh to Puddle, the player must make a Stamina + Atheletics roll (difficulty 6). Moving while in Puddle form requires Dexterity + Atheletics (difficulty 7), while reconstituting takes Stamina + Athletics (difficulty 7). A botch on either of the last two rolls renders the sluagh an inert quivering mass, easilly caught and poured into a container for safekeeping. Failure simply means that the Sluagh must try again.
Nightmare Form (5pts) - Fear is what the Sluagh were born of. Long ago Sluagh were able to use this fear to change their shape into an incarnation of fear, whether to scare a child straight or to prove a greedy monk or shallow innkeeper was corrupt. This form was thought lost to all Sluagh along with the ability to become a pile of ooze. However, you still have this unique ability. By spending a point of Glamour and rolling Dexterity + Athletics "(difficulty 8), your body stretches out completely as limbs and body become extremely thin while your eyes glow an eerie red and your face contorts into a gruesome visage. This takes a full turn to change and no actions can be taken, and the change cannot be done in front of mortals or the unenchanted. Once fully transformed into your Nightmare Form, you add one dot to your Dexterity while subtract two dots from your Appearance. Anyone who tries to attack or insult you must roll Willpower (difficulty 7) in order to do so or stop in their tracks due to sheer terror. This form allows you to deal Strength + 2 Aggervated damage with your hands. Mortals will see the transformed form but will be affected by the Mists afterwards. Due to the stretching of the limbs, the transformation lasts only a scene.
Death's Resilience (6pts) - Sluagh are known for their link with the dead, but it is only a rare few that actually seem to retain the resilience that they are given from Scottish myths. And you are one of them. You can ignore all wound penalties, whether chimerical or mundane, until you are dead. As a side effect, however, your Glamour gives off an unnatural feeling to those with high Kenning, and this extends to your Cantrips as well (a Perception + Kenning roll (difficulty 6) can allow other Kithian to recognize your particular Glamour).
Never Slayed (7pts) - The Legendary Slaying of Voices caused the Sluagh, as a Kith, to lose their voices and be forever cursed to a whisper. However, through some odd twist of fate, your voice has remained intact. Upon your chrysalis, you gained an odd chimera that hangs around you; it can be no bigger than a house cat or smaller than a bat. Whenever this chimera is touching you, you can speak at a normal level. However, if it leaves your area, you fall to a whisper level immediately. If this chimera should ever get lost or stray away for a long time, you start to become very anxious and suffer a -1 difficulty to all rolls until the chimera returns. If the chimera should ever die, you must roll your Willpower (difficulty 7) or enter a catatonic state for a week.
Gregarious (1pt) - Among the worst breaches of etiquette a Sluagh can commit is spending too much time in the company of others. A Gregarious Sluagh may win friends and influence other Kithian, but it is likely to acquire a bad odor among others of her kind. If you are Gregarious, you will be ostracized by other Sluagh, not invited to High Teas, and left unapprised of information that might otherwise be of use. Player, your Gregarious Sluagh is at a -2 on all Social rolls involving other Sluagh. And no, you can't keep it a secret.
Killmoulis Marks (1-4pts) - Whether in your past you were a Killmoulis, or perhaps your mother or father was one, you've inherited one or more physical or mental traits associated with these enigmatic denizens of the Dreaming. Depending on the severity of the flaw, the manifestation of Killmoulis could range from being shorter than other Sluagh (1pt) to having no mouth at all (4pts).
Short Attention Span (2pts) - Much of a Sluagh's time can be spent poring over complex problems, separating informational wheat from chaff. This requires time, effort, and most of all, patience. Unfortunately, with a Short Attention Span, patience is something you have in short supply. You bounce from idea to idea and project to project, never finishing one before starting the next. Even if you've promised to complete work for someone else, you never quite seem to be able to get around to it, particularly when there are so many more exciting things to which you could devote yourself. (Alas, each of these eventually pales, and you're left with a string of unfinished pieces, which depresses you so much that you want to wipe the slate clean and start on something completely new...) For a Sluagh with a short Attention Span to finish a piece of work that cannot be done at a single sitting, the player must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 6); otherwise the necessary work will be left undone. This roll must be made every time the project in question is returned to. A Sluagh with this Flaw will be treated like a child by others of her Kith. A Sluagh without the patience to watch is no real Sluagh at all.
Show Off (2pts) - It might have been in a past life you were a member of the Abbey Lubbers or Buttery Spirits, or it might be a whim that you have whenever a group is around, but for some damned reason you can't help but show off whenever a situation arises. Whether it's adding a little oomph to your cantrips, boasting of your skills, or even bending the Right of Ignorance and revealing your fae nature to people. Whenever a situation arises that you would try to show off your stuff, you must spend a point of Willpower to try to temporarily negate the effects for a scene. You are more likely to spend an extra point of Glamour to fuel your cantrips, though not necessarily all the time.
Dead Roommate (2-4pts) - The "Wailing" has caused quite a bit of trouble for you ever since it occurred, one of which is that a ghost now inhabits your favourite possession. For two points, the ghost can hold its own and may even be willing to help you out, for some minor favours. For four points, however, the Wraith in question is very weak and in some cases may try to attack you in a mad fit of sorts (this Wraith is struggling with Catharsis, see Wraith: The Oblivion for more information). In both cases, the Sluagh can actually hear the Wraith without spending a point of Glamour, however the Wraith is constantly complaining (or in the four point version, it is gibbering and making violent threats). Whenever in the area of the item possessed by the ghost, the Sluagh suffers a -1 dice penalty on rolls(-2 and a point of Willpower for the four point version), due to the Wraith's constant complaining.
Loudmouth (3pts) - Secrets? What secrets? If you've got a piece of information, you can't resist telling the world. As information is the Kith' stock in trade, you're literally giving away the store every time you open your mouth. It's not that you mean to mouth off, it's just that you can't help yourself. (Player, make a Willpower roll, difficulty 8, to keep your Sluagh from blurting out any secrets she knows.) Of course, once word gets around that there's a blabbermouth Sluagh in town, you can expect plenty of visitors--other Changelings looking for the latest dirt and whatnot. Then again, folks may try to use you to spread false information, and you're certainly not going to be in the good graces of other Sluagh.
Recluse (3pts) - Above and beyong the usual Sluagh aversion to companionship, you have a phobia when it comes to others. It takes a real effort (Willpower roll, difficulty 6) for you even to come out of your lair, and another one every day to keep you from scuttling back in. You're most comfortable at home, and generally don't even let others see you, preferring to remain behind curtains or one-way glass. Whenever the Sluagh is in the company of more than one person, you are at -1 on all rolls unless you make a Willpower roll (difficulty 5).
Stench of Decay (3pts) - While most Sluagh have a slight odor of decay about them, you smell like you washed in raw sewage. This causes many of your Kithian friends to gag whenever around you and social gatherings usually clear out once you've arrived (though flies seem to like you a lot). All Social rolls are at a + 2 difficulty with any Changeling or chimera, including other Sluagh.
Hag-Ridden (4pts) - Somewhere along the line, someone whom you wronged died. This wouldn't be so bad, except now she's a Wraith and she's out to make your life a (brief) living hell. No matter where you go or what you do, your ghost will follow you and do her best to interfere. As you grow in power, so will she, and she won't rest until you're destroyed. The worst part of it, however, is that you can see her and everything she's up to, but most of the time, you're powerless to do anything about it.
Grip of Death (5pts) - This is an example of a Sluagh whose Glamour and fae mien have been warped due to constant association with the Black Paths of Balor, or some relation to the Nunnehi family known as the Pu'gwis. The Sluagh's visage has been reduced to that of a cadaver while his body has been weakened significantly. Sluagh with this flaw have an appearance rating of zero, and cannot have their Strength higher than 3 (much like the Pu'gwis frailty). Because of this, all Social rolls except for Intimidation are reduced by two.
Knows Too Much (5pts) - You have learned what many consider to be the great secret of the Sluagh: that Sluagh fae are in their last incarnation, and that beyond this life yawns nothingness. This revelation has twisted your perspective irreparably. No longer do you see any good in the world or in others. Nothing means anything to you anymore, and life is simply something to be endured before the darkness that waits for you inevitably swallows your spirit. This also means that others will have an extremely difficult time convincing you of the urgency of any quests or requests, and you may well abruptly lose interest in whatever you're doing simply because it's too much effort.
Views on Other Kith
From the Changeling: The Dreaming Corebook, Second Edition:
"Listen closely and you may learn a thing or two from Elspeth Danvers, Collector of Antiquities.
On Boggans - How ambitious! To creep and listen and gossip!
On Eshu - Their stories are their secrets, warm living things, not the cold knowledge we drag from the grave. Listen well when they speak.
On Nockers - How singularly insecure they are, eternally seeking praise. The best one might hope for is to learn some new profanity.
On Pooka - Good for a laugh, even if they do live in a world of lies.
On Redcaps - These pit bulls know only madness, not fear. I know things that would leave them shaking.
On Satyrs - They believe knowledge is hidden only in joy and lust. They know not the wisdom of silence and sadness.
On Sidhe - They are not without their shame, the mightiest of all. If you knew what I know of them...
On Trolls - So stoic and brave...what hides in your heart? What pain do you bear?