Gwendolyn Kestrel (Dragon #304)
A child, born hale and healthy, might suddenly seem weak and sickly a day or two after its birth. In another family with only brown and green eyes, a child grows up to have beautiful violet eyes flecked with gold. Anxious, superstitious parents often view such events with a secret fear: They now harbor a changeling in their home. Sometimes these fears are warranted. Sometimes a human, half-elven, or elven babe is taken by a fey and replaced with a changeling - a child with a touch of fey blood that looks enough like the other race to pass. For example, a seelie court fey might have had a love affair with a lesser fey and the resulting child might look too human to be accepted into the seelie court, a grig might have played a prank, switching several fey and non-fey babies, or the politics of the seelie and unseelie courts might have made a fey fear that its child would be used as a hostage or killed by its rivals.
Changelings represent a viable player character race. As such, they're a way for DMs to introduce diverse fey into the campaign and for players to experience the realm of the faerie. A changeling might seek to find his birth parents, leading to adventures among the fey on the Material Plane or even on the Plane of Faerie. There can be many reasons why a fey would put its child to foster as a changeling.
Physical Description: Changelings are humans born with a touch of fey blood. They look like attractive humans but often have one odd feature such as eyes of two different colors, slightly pointed ears, golden hair, and so on.
Relations: Changelings tend to not fit in and are social outsiders in whatever mortal community they grow up. They're often loners, spending much of their time away from their community. They often find solace in natural environments such as quiet glades, wild moors, or rocky hillsides.
Alignment: Changelings can be of any alignment, though they tend toward neutrality and goodness.
Religion: While changelings often feel a deep spirituality, they don't often conform to the norms and expectations of standard human or elven religions.
Language: A changeling child grows up speaking the languages common to its foster parents, and, if able to frequent natural places, Sylvan.
Names: Changelings bear the names that their foster parents intended for their own child. Often, as the child grows up, a moniker will be added such as a preface of "Odd" or an epithet such as "the Strange" or "the Weird."
Adventurers: Changelings are drawn to careers that allow them to spend most of their time outdoors and in natural settings. They often serve as rangers, guiding folk through dangerous landscapes, or as druids, protecting the land and its creatures. Loners who have no strong connection to their community, changelings are often affected by wanderlust and choose the life of an adventurer.
Changeling Racial Traits
The following abilities are racial traits of changelings.
- -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Charisma: Changelings are physically weak and sickly, but they are agile and persuasive.
- Medium: As Medium-size creatures, changelings have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Changeling base speed is 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Changelings can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- For all special abilities and effects, a changeling is considered both fey and humanoid. Changelings, for example, can use fey weapons and magic items with racially specific fey powers as if they were fey. Likewise, bane against fey weapons deal bonus damage to changelings. Changelings, however, are still considered humanoids and are able to be affected by spells such as charm person, yet they receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against charm person and other spells and spell-like abilities that specifically target humanoids.
- +2 racial bonus to Disguise checks.
- Many changelings are seen as being inordinately lucky. Indeed, they have limited abilities to alter the odds of success in their favor. Changelings with Intelligence scores of 10 or higher may cast the 0-level spells guidance, resistance, and virtue each once per day. Treat the changeling as a 1st-level sorcerer for all spell effects dependent on level.
- Automatic Languages: Common and either Elven or Sylvan. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
- Favored Class: Bard. Changelings are natural diplomats and tale-spinners with an affinity for spontaneous magic.
Sample Changeling: Changeling