“The hooded figures crept forward from behind rotten logs and moss covered boulders surrounding him on all sides. Bjorn lay on his side as the crept ever closer, blood seeping from his wound into the snow. The hooded figures closed in around him each no bigger than a child; he could see their faces now, even shrouded in the dim light he could see they were unnatural, light green hair braided with flowers and leaves, red tattoos dotting their faces, and slim horns protruding from their foreheads. One reached out and pressed something cold and stinging to his wound, their eyes met and for a moment the world faded as he stared into them, twinkling like shards of starlight. The pain faded and he grew weary, “Thank you” Bjorn croaked and the child simply shook its head as he drifted into unconsciousness. When Bjorn awoke he found himself surrounded by a ring of mushrooms with a foul smelling paste plastered over his now closed wound, his pockets turned out and his pack emptied.”
Infants stolen and raised by the fey become strange beings called changelings, for better or worse. Capricious, mischievous, and childlike enthusiasm masks a deep understanding of the world around them. Feared and mistrusted by the other races the changelings struggle to find themselves in this world.
Children of the forests
Youthful and childlike the changelings are a little understood race of beings. Stolen from their beds by faeries these infants are warped and twisted by long exposure to the energies of the fey which prevents them from physically aging more than about 12 years old. The changelings forever maintain a sense of childlike wonder and wanderlust. Changelings are often mistaken for human children from afar, but upon seeing their face sits becomes clear they are something else entirely; with thin horns that curve up out of their brows, whorling tattoos of red or green on their cheeks, pointed ears, and black eyes dotted with starlight they have a decidedly fey like appearance that make them immediately identifiable upon inspection.
Their skin ranges from light brown and green nature hues to lighter colors more akin to human skin tones. Their hair color varies wildly with light blues, greens, reds, oranges, browns, and golden colors that often represent the season in which they were born. Changeling girls have elaborate braids with flowers, twigs, and leaves woven into them. Males use tree saps and pastes to style their hair in strange and unique ways, often adorning it with nuts berries or twigs.
The Changelings age under the influence of the fey for about 12 years until they reach “maturity” by their standards, though they can live for as long as 150 years they never continue to age physically, but continue to develop mentally, albeit never losing some of their childlike qualities such as a deep sense of wonder, thirst for new experiences, and a childlike sense of humor that is fostered by the capricious nature of the fey. Their outlook on the world tends to be a highly positive one throughout their lives, though as they grow older they reach a deep and wise understanding of the things around them and the oldest of the changelings have been known to offer wisdom to travelers and pilgrims who seek them.
Changelings, much like their fey “parents” are natural pranksters who delight in playing practical jokes on their friends and enemies alike, though depending on their fey parentage these jokes might be harmless or malicious, but the changelings always find them hilarious. Unlike most children, and perhaps this is due to the influence the fey has on their bodies and minds, fear is largely unknown to them, referring to ice tigers as “big kittens” or trolls as “smelly lumbering bullies” they treat dangerous situations as a new experience and something to be overcome, as a result most races view them as foolhardy rather than courageous.
Stolen from birth, raised for a purpose
The world no longer remembers when the first changelings appeared, though tales and legends can be traced back at least several centuries. However, the world at large is less concerned with when than why. The fey began the practice in an effort to bring new weapons into their war with one another, but quickly found kindred spirits in the new race they had created, enjoying their company and childish ways. The fey primarily take orphans, sickly babies, and neglected children as they do not truly wish to harm a family by stealing their children. However, its not unheard of for the fey to take interest in a particularly healthy normal child for reasons all their own and have that child disappear over night, often with a small collection of precious stones left behind as compensation for the family’s loss. Each changeling is given a purpose in a fey community, be it a tender of animals, guardian of a stretch of forest, or even a steward for an important or powerful fey., and many are chosen to be briar knights and warlocks. A changeling takes their role very seriously, adhering to their responsibilities and respecting the roles of other changelings never overstepping their bounds to interfere with the work of others. Changelings live with their fey communities until they reach 20 years of age when their wanderlust usually becomes too unbearable and they are released into the world by their fey parents with a task to complete, these tasks can be as simple as bringing back a lost piece of lore, delivering messages to a faraway fey kingdoms, or even protecting a important location. Changelings take these tasks with pride and enjoy traveling in the servitude of their patrons, often collecting trinkets and stories form the places they visit to share upon their return.
A respect for nature
Many pity the changelings or curse they fey for what has become of them, but the changelings themselves see it as a gift. A changeling has no memory of their former families and treats their fey parents as any child would, with love, affection, and reverence. They are thankful for being given a loving home, a purpose, and a long lifespan with which they may enjoy the wonders of the world. Being raised amongst they fey instills a deep respect for the natural world and the spirits that inhabit it, resulting in changelings being fiercely protective of nature, animals, and the spirits themselves and they will not stand for unnecessary abuse to such things. They understand the other races need for meat, wood, and other natural resources and do not judge humans who rely heavily on such amenities though they often do give lectures on the benefits of living harmony with nature.
A changelings name is given to them by their fey parents and are often symbols of nature. Their names are based upon aspects of nature they their parents or themselves find pleasing, this can include animals, locations, seasons, or any other aspects of nature they fey feels is appropriate. Names are not gender specific and can be applied to both male and female changelings.
Names: Bright Snow, Laughing Squirrel, Autumn Shine, Loving Spring, Little Sparrow.
Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 1 and your Dexterity score increases by 1
Age: A Changeling reaches “maturity” at age 12 and begins adventure around age 20. They general live into the middle of their second century.
Size: Changelings are on average 3 feet tall and weigh about 40 pounds. Your size is small.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Fearless: You can not be frightened
Deep Pockets: Changelings constantly pick up trinkets and items on their travels, often forgetting about them later. If you find yourself in need of apiece of nonmagical equipment, there is a 25% chance you have it. Roll a d4. On a result of 4, you find the item in your pack, any other result means you do not have the item on you again. You can’t search for the same item again until you ave spent at least one day in a settlement. Searching through your bags in this manner takes 1 minute.
Nature Speech: You can speak with animals as per the spell for a number of minutes per day equal to 10 per 2 levels, this must be spent in ten minute increments.
Respect for Nature: You may not consume meat of an animal you did not hunt yourself or wear armor made of metal, if you do you lose your ability to speak with animals until you atone by fasting for 24 hours or removing the armor in question and not wearing any for a day.
Natural remedies: They fey have imparted upon you the mystical ways of the forest and its ability to heal. Once per day you may spend 2 hours gathering natural ingredients and working them into a poultice that when applied to wounds as a full round action acts as a healing potion.