||Dreams can come true!
Pun totally, and absolutely intentional! Seriously though, this is one of my favorite "classic" WoD games, and as such, is a dream come true. That's saying a lot, as I'm a big fan of the system, art, and writing of all the 1st & 2nd editions of those games. Never the less, I had long ago given up on ever seeing any of these games published again.
Of course, White Wolf has now published Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition (which I also have purchased and loved). Even then, I never thought we would see a print version of lovely Changeling the Dreaming. There are two main reasons for this:
1) It was a full color book, and sort of relied on that for effect.
2) It was never (as I understand it) much of a success commercially.
I'm proud to say that the book is sitting next to me, brand new, in full color and hardback bound, and it looks wonderful! It's not 100% perfect (there are pages where the "full bleed" doesn't quite reach the edges), but it's even better than I expected. Appearance wise, it's well worth the price.
How is it besides appearance? Why wasn't Changeling so popular as the other Storyteller games? What did it not have that the other games did?
For starters, it's hard to compete with vampires, werewolves, and even wizards. Vampires appeal to romantics of all ages (especially in the Goth tinged 90's), werewolves appeal to those more interested in a martial/heroic themed game (and even the eco-minded in WtA), and wizards... they can do all sorts of stuff. Mage the Ascension was particularly robust, but specifics for that aren't important here (perhaps for MtA 20th Anniversary).
Another aspect of Changeling that might have lost some potential fans is that you could read the book and get the feeling that the Kithain (what Changelings call themselves) are all absolute loonies that see things that no one else does (even in the supernatural World of Darkness). There's very little in the book that gives you the sense that the Dreaming (Changeling's side reality), is of any actual substance at all. Thereby, one could get the feeling that the game is futile and limiting (not that futility was ever something shied away from in the old White Wolf games).
That being said, I don't feel that way. This is a game of dreams and glamour (fae magic). I always tweaked things ever so slightly so that the players felt like they were doing something more tangible and heroic, because I feel like that's the spirit of the game. This isn't to say that playing the game more in the style of C.S. Lewis is wrong. One could run a great chronicle in which a group of kids/teens go through a mirror or closet into an enchanted realm, never worrying about any of the "real world" at all! I will say that if nothing from the real world is ever thrown into the story, it could become hard to suspend disbelief, and it could become a game within a game. I say this only because it is an RPG. It's obviously worked well in a number of books and movies!
Aside from all that, everything you need to play this game is here! All the Kith (9 different types of changelings, mostly European), Merits/Flaws (good & bad things about your character), Cantrips (faerie magical styles), Chimera (faerie items/companions), Banality (the antithesis of faerie magic - aka reality), and of course all the systems for dealing with all these things. In the back of the book is a number of the other supernaturals (Werewolves, Vamps, Mages, Wraiths, & more specific faerie baddies).
To me, this is one of the most timeless of the WoD games. Specifically, it doesn't feel as much a generational thing as some of the others (some were very "90's"). This is a game for fans of Burton, Gaiman, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, and more. I say check it out.
[5 of 5 Stars!]