Gamers logo

The Chessboard Motley

A Changeling: The Lost Group Concept

By Neal LitherlandPublished 7 months ago โ€ข 5 min read
Top Story - November 2023

Miss Bishop leaned back in her chair, and eyed the man who had come into her office before locking the door behind him. He had the lean, ropy musculature of a serpent beneath his cheap suit, and the dead eyes of a shark. She could see where he was packing a heater on his hip, and she had no doubt he was good with it. Good enough to do the job he was usually hired to do, at least.

She was familiar enough with Mr. Delano, and the syndicate that employed him, to know that she was in real danger here. She reached over to the chessboard on the side of her desk, and moved a single piece, feeling the magic run through her fingertips as she did.

"No," Miss Bishop said. That made Delano's eyes widen.

"Perhaps I wasn't clear enough with you, Miss Bishop," the gunman said, his mouth curving into a nasty smile. "My employer wants this matter handled quietly. What would it take for him to do that? You can dictate the terms."

"You were very clear, Mr. Delano," Bishop said as she leaned back in her chair. She watched over the man's shoulder as a figure silently stepped into the room, his body passing through the closed door as if it wasn't even there. A huge man in a black three piece suit, a silver pin on his lapel in the shape of a rearing horse, he would have drawn interest anywhere he went. Bishop could see beneath his mask, though, and she saw the visage of the stone-faced ogre, glamour running through his veins as he took up position behind the client chair Delano sat in. "And while I appreciate you didn't say, 'Name your price,' as well as your basic manners, let me make one thing clear. You're scum, your bosses are scum, and you are all going to have your day in court."

The nasty smile got even wider, and Delano stood, his hand going for his weapon. That was when the ogre drove a fist into the small of Delano's back, the blow landing with such force that the goon was driven to his knees, eyes watering, and mouth open in a silent O of pain. He kept scrabbling for his weapon, but the ogre bent down, and snatched the nine millimeter out of its holster.

"Thank you, Mr. Knight," Bishop said, letting out a breath she hadn't been aware she'd been holding. "Would you please show Mr. Delano out?"

"The door, or the window?" Knight asked.

"The door," Bishop said with a thin smile. "This time."

As Knight dragged the enforcer out by the scruff of his neck, Bishop rubbed her temples. The syndicate wasn't going to play nice after today... fortunately for her, though, she and her associates were no strangers to risky gambits.

A Chessboard World

In Changeling: The Lost, you play a person who was taken by an interdimensional being called a True Fae. A creature of nearly god-like power, it altered your very being, transforming you into a creature with a fae nature. Though you've escaped back to the mortal world, your fae nature maintains, and it is likely you still carry the skills and scars of the role you were made to fill in that True Fae's realm.

Coming up with who your True Fae was, and what they turned you into, is one of the most interesting parts of creating your changeling. However, if you want to put together a group concept where you and the rest of your motley escaped from the same creature (and were made to serve similar purposes) consider the Chessboard Motley.

He's down! Run for it!

The motley consists of rook, knight, and bishop, at the very least, and as there were 4 members of each between the two colors, you have a lot of potential history to bring to the table. For example, does the motley have two knights, or two bishops? Are they the same color? If not, do they still have an old rivalry and bad blood because of what was done back in Arcadia? Do they fall into the same old patterns and power structures they used to operate under, or do they attempt to break from the roles they had to become different people?

As an example, does the black knight's ability to move strangely and unexpectedly make them a tactical asset, striking hard and fast? And do they serve the clandestine interests of the Winter Court, in keeping with their tendency to use unexpected strategies, or do they find themselves an agent of fear in Fall? Does the Rook end up as a Summer Courtier, or does their steadfast nature and desire to keep moving forward make them identify more with Spring? Not only that, but does the motley form an organization in the real world (private detective agency, law firm, private military company, etc.), or do they live their separate lives until the freehold calls upon them to put their talents to use?

Lastly, who was their Keeper? Or Keepers, if there was one for the black side of the board, and one for the white?

You never know who it will be.

For example, did the True Fae sit on either side of the board, ordering the strategy and tactics? Or were they each the kings, considered too valuable to ever actually kill, the game ending whenever they were put in unavoidable jeopardy? Or was the king merely a target, while the True Fae took on the roles of the queens, the most powerful pieces on the board? And did the pieces escape when they were captured? Or did something upset the board, scattering the pieces, and giving them their chance to seek freedom? Or were they dismissed from service once the game was finished, and the Gentry had lost interest in them going forward?

There's no right or wrong answer to any of these questions... but they can ensure that dozens of different groups might choose to make this motley, and no two of them will be the same!

Additional Reading

If you're in the market for additional Changeling: The Lost content to help round out this idea, consider checking out the following articles and supplements.

- 7 True Fae To Find in Arcadia: Even more True Fae to inspire you, and to help mold your changeling concepts.

- 100 Frailties: As your characters grow in power, they begin to develop fae weaknesses... these can be tough to come up with, so consider grabbing this guide!

- 5 Questions Every Changeling: The Lost Player Should Ask: Whether you're a new or experienced player, always make sure you have answers to these questions.

- 5 Movies You Should Watch To Really "Get" Changeling: The Lost: The concept behind this TTRPG can sometimes be tough to wrap your mind around... but there are a lot of films that help put things into perspective.

Like, Follow, and Stay in Touch!

That's all for this week's Unusual Character Concepts post!

For more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and stop by the Azukail Games YouTube channel. Or if you'd prefer to read some of my books, like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, my dystopian sci-fi thriller Old Soldiers, or my recent short story collection The Rejects, then head over to My Amazon Author Page!

To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and now Pinterest as well! To support my work, consider Buying Me a Ko-Fi, or heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular, monthly patron. That one helps ensure you get more content, and it means you'll get my regular, monthly giveaways as a bonus!

rpgtable top

About the Creator

Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.



Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Add your insights

Comments (17)

Sign in to comment
  • Eddiereaderabout a month ago

    I like playing chess

  • Very interesting

  • John Ransom4 months ago

    Really great writing! I appreciate the time and thought that went into this. Count me a new subscriber!

  • Colt Henderson7 months ago

    Is this a real game?

  • Artieinfo7 months ago

    Great post

  • Mark Rodriguez7 months ago

    Have you found a way to win the game? This is a classic game but not everyone knows how to conquer this game.

  • Kendall Defoe 7 months ago

    This has piqued my interest. Top Story, indeed! ๐Ÿ…

  • Christine7 months ago

    Love them

  • Butter benami7 months ago

    I love it

  • Jennifer David7 months ago

    A wonderful read! I'm so glad I stopped by to read!

  • Ali Akbar7 months ago

    I'm hooked and can't wait to see what unfolds next in this intriguing scenario. Well done!

  • Hannah Moore7 months ago

    I've never heard of this before, interesting!

  • Brin J.7 months ago

    What a clever and excellent intro piece to bring awareness to this game. You're clearly an experienced strategist๐Ÿ˜โ™›

  • All hail a Master! ๐Ÿ‘ I took your advice and headed to your Amazon page. ๐Ÿง

  • Judey Kalchik 7 months ago

    You pour so much knowledge and experience into your writing- I am so happy for you to see this recognized as a Top Story!

  • Congratulations on your Top Storyโœจ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

  • JBaz7 months ago

    That was a well written piece, very attention grabbing. I have never heard of this game but it sounds intricate and exhilarating.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

ยฉ 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.