It was an abomination. It was cute and genki where Demon and Wraith were bleak and inki. It eschewed the Gothic-Punk aesthetic altogether in favor of closeted childhood high fantasy. The seven races of Kithain were dismally balanced and overspecialized, with two whole races fixed pretty much permanently on one of the Seelie-Unseelie axis. There was laughter without schadenfreude. In a World of Darkness, it was a Thomas Kinkade landscape (and not one of those that was, the way Thomas Kinkade paintings actually are, a Dionaea house.)
But there was beauty in it. Sometimes nightmarish, sometimes insane, often childish, but there were some moments in Changeling that were, though not Punk at all, Gothic in their beauty. (The most obvious one is the road to the legendary Snail Graveyard, littered with the crushed shells of the millions of snails that never made it to the end of their final voyage. Beautiful.)
I will also admit to being deeply biased against New World of Darkness. The old World of Darkness had become bloated
Q: How many mortals does it take to change a lightbulb?and unstable, too much so to go on forever without turning into a Shadowrun-style endless downward spiral. Too many coming apocalypses; too many product lines.
A: None, because there's too many vampires, mages, demons, changelings, Garou, Gurahl, Bastet, Corax, Ananasi, Nuwisha, Mokolé, Nagah, Kitsune, Ratkin, mummies, Imbued hunters, and Kuei-jin in the room already.
But I'll take the Old World's decadence - the fact that in any game you'd have dozens of options going to waste - over the New World's cookie-cutter essentialism. (What was done to mages in particular is a travesty. Never mind that I never got the hang of the rules of OWoD magick, never figured out what the Euthanatoi or Virtual Adepts were fighting for, and never spent enough money to make sense of the truly heinous metaplot: the scope and vision of Mage: the Ascension completely outclasses Mage: the Awakening.) And the rules changes suck too.
So it came as a hell of a shock to me, downtown in Northampton this afternoon, to discover that
- White Wolf has a New World of Darkness incarnation of Changeling,
- it's orders of magnitude better than Changeling: the Dreaming, and
- it's the best product line the New World of Darkness has, hands down.
More on this later, once I've actually read through it, but it's really awesome.