All changeling characters get five Free Traits at character creation in addition to those gained from Negative Traits and Flaws. One Free Trait can be spent to take an additional Ability, Attribute, or Background Trait, or to specialize in an Ability. Two Free Traits can be spent to take one level of a Realm. Three Free Traits can be used to purchase a Basic Art, a Glamour Trait, or a Willpower Trait.
The Mists protect Shadow Court Lore and Dreaming Lore. High Approval is required for player characters to have either.
For Nunnehi, the Nunnehi Backgrounds (Household, Spirit Companion, and Totem) require Mid Approval to take level 4, and High Approval to take level five.
For Inanimae, the Inanimae Backgrounds (Regard and Famous Anchor) require Mid Approval to take level four, and High Approval to take level five.
For Kinain, the Kinain Backgrounds (Dross, Faerie Blood, Faerie Mentor, Feth Fiada, and Kenning) require Mid Approval to take level 4, and High Approval to take level five. Dross and Feth Fiada are available to Kithain characters with a minimum of Mid Approval.
Additional Backgrounds can be found on page 53 of Dark Epics.A Word on Background Maximums
Storytellers should keep in mind that a characters who constantly draws from freeholds (three to four weeks out of every month, or more) run the risk of entering Bedlam from spending so much time in the chaotic energies of a freehold. Furthermore, caring for a freehold should be a give-and-take. If there is no upkeep and the freehold is constantly drawn upon for Glamour, it runs the risk of "burning out" and losing levels of power, at Storyteller discretion. A freehold will produce Dross each month equal to its rating, which will "appear" in a treasure- or store-room within the freehold, as long as the Glamour-supply has not been "tapped out".
The Storyteller may approve a "commoner freehold" in which at least three players invest points into a Holding (which may only be as high as level four.) A character may not choose this Background without taking at least the same level of Title unless it is part of a commoner freehold. Where a commoner freehold is less than three points, or where division makes fractions of points cost, then the players may decide between themselves who pays for the Background, but at least three must be sworn to it as the "controlling" characters.
Storytellers are encouraged to use the "Freehold Realm Affinity" system when helping players create freeholds. This will help give flavor to freeholds, and will help the STs determine the style of the holding, as well as the type of Chimera that "come with" the holding. For example, a level two Medieval Fortress holding with the Actor Affinity would have a few serfs, and a few guards in chainmail patrolling the battlements. The same holding at level four would have a full staff of wenches, serfs, cooks and grooms, as well as armored patrols that roam the freehold's lands and defend it if attacked. A level four Freehold that is a skyscraper would also probably have the Actor realm, and might have restaurant cooks, accountants, and other assorted corporate-chimera.
Under no circumstance will the Chimera who "come with" a Freehold ever leave the immediate vicinity of the Freehold. They are meant to give flavor and life to this background, and to provide in-game stories for the characters who frequent such places.
Because dealing too heavily in Influences may result in Banality, changeling characters are limited to beginning with five total levels of Influence. The Storyteller should apply one to three temporary Banality Traits to the Influence holder on a monthly basis if she acquires more than five levels, or if she uses her Influence in a particularly banal fashion. However, Storytellers are urged to keep in mind the type and usage of Influence before applying temporary Banality Traits.
Prestige [Shadow Court]
This Background requires High Approval.
Remembrance cannot be used to retest a Gremayre counter Cantrip retest.
This Background represents a character's station in a court other than the one in which they currently reside. Characters with Political Connections are either Heralds or Ambassadors.
A Herald is a character who serves a court (the level of this Background equal to the presiding Noble's Title) as a messenger, when acting in an official capacity, may invoke their liege's status and title instead of their own.
An Ambassador also serves a court similar to the Herald, but in courtly settings is always considered to have the same Status as their liege, but only within certain "boundaries". For example, if Tony the Troll is the Ambassador to the court of Count Crispy of the Kingdom of Pacifica, from the court of Count Boris of the Kingdom of Dalarna, Tony's "Ambassadorial" status only functions within that County, and not in a different County even in the same Duchy. It requires the Approvals of both the PC's home location as well as the location he is actually in to be an Ambassador. Example: Tony the Troll would need the approval of the STs for both Count Crispy & Count Boris.
Status traits utilized by this background are superceded by those with the Title background, thus a Knight in the court of Count Crispy can interrupt the Ambassador from the court of Count Boris without having to "ignore" the Status outright. Further, characters with this Background who abuse it and use it for their own personal gain rather than their liege's wishes may find themselves cast out as frauds at best...Oath-breakers at worst.
The Titles of Squire, Knight or Baron require Low Approval. The Title of Count requires Mid Approval. The Title of Duke requires High Approval. The titles of King (level six) or High King (level seven) each requires Top Approval. After character creation, title may raise through role-play, however approval requirements still apply. The Titles of Baron, Count, and Duke for non-Sidhe (Entitled Commoners) require one higher level of approval than what is listed above.
Only Sained characters can use the benefits of Status. Status is largely enforced by the Nobility, and it can be ignored, but is seen very much as a social "blunder" or "faux pas". The Dreaming oftimes enforces "higher" Status, such as that of Dukes, Princes, Kings, and High Kings.
A noble with Title can give lesser levels of Title to others if they are sworn (or do swear) fealty to that noble. This ability is not to be taken lightly or used without prior Storyteller permission. The Dreaming itself chooses Kings and High Kings. Kings have the Status trait of "Regal", and High Kings have the Status trait of "Lordly". The title of "Prince" or "Princess" is a variation of "Duke" or "Duchess", but must have High Approval, as the characters must be the heirs of current Kings or High Kings.
Any noble with good reason may refuse (or terminate) the service of another below them in the chain of fealty. So refused, the character does not lose Title, but may not use the accompanying Status Traits in Social Challenges until he finds service with another noble of appropriate rank. A knight thus refused will become a Knight Errant.
Only a noble 2 ranks higher than a character may strip or reduce a character's Title (and accompanying Treasures), and only then if the offending character falls within that noble's fealty chain. Only the High King can remove a Title of Duke or King, and it is a very rare occurrence. The Dreaming itself may remove the Duke or King if they are very unsuitable, and even the High King, although this has not happened since before the Shattering.
Characters with titles receive free "Title-Treasures" that represent the duties and powers of the office, as described in pages 210 through 214 of the Shining Host Players Guide.