They are better than stars or water, Better than voices of winds that sing, Better than any man's fair daughter, Your green glass beads on a silver ring. Harold Monro, "Overheard on a Salt-marsh"
While few chimera could be said to possess sentience, inanimate chimera have even less chance than animate ones to develop intelligence. Most often, inanimate chimera are found as objects that are used by changelings. These might be weapons or armor, clothing or jewelry, fine furnishings, golden tableware, even games and toys.
Some of these have a mundane reality as well, such as when a changeling creates a shining chimerical blade from an old stick or a wooden practice sword. She might also create a chimerical gown for a fancy dress ball using her skirt and blouse as a pattern over which to lay her dreamcloth. Certain changelings have an affinity for creating chimerical objects, utilizing their skills to forge chimerical blades or craft fanciful armor.Personal Adornment
Items, Objects and Places
Chimerical clothing is probably the most common type of inanimate chimera. Whenever a changeling undergoes her Chrysalis, and discovers her fae mien, she usually finds that she is already clad in chimerical garb suitable to her new persona. It is as if part of her remembrance of who she truly is becomes more real through dressing the part. Somehow she remembers and recreates the garb in which her faerie self is most comfortable.
Such clothing is known as voile. Jewelry is often included with chimerical garb as part of the accessories, especially if it is used as a neckpiece, waistband, belt or hair adornment. Some voile sparkles with hundreds of chimerical gems or pearls strewn throughout the cloth. More often, however, jewelry is an afterthought, added when the changeling needs "a little something" to set off her finery. Those who have no access to treasures can still adorn themselves with inanimate chimera in the shapes of jewels, crowns, hairclasps, chains of office and the like. A little dreaming, a little Grafting, and a new chimera is born. Some changelings find that they emerge into their faerie selves clad not in finery, but in chimerical armor.
While unusual, this often denotes a changeling whose martial abilities (and the need to use them) are extraordinary. Armor and weapons are the second most common chimerical items, and almost always need to be crafted rather than just appearing as part of a Katherine's garb. Armor may be worn over plain mundane clothing or paired with chimerical garb. As with chimerical clothing, the chimerical garb that is worn with armor is still usually laid atop real clothing. Some changelings prefer modern dress, and some voile is extremely modern, even futuristic. Voile is not evident to mortals, nor is chimerical armor. Naked people walking to a ball create a stir; naked people jumping about and swinging imaginary swords while yelling battle cries upset the mundane, and usually get changelings locked up in the nearest psychiatric ward. This can be easily avoided by wearing mundane clothes in addition to the voile.
Household items, such as luxurious pillows and draperies, fancy utensils and tablecloths, intricately patterned carpets and comfortable chairs may all be chimerical created. While these may be given chimerical aspects to hide the more mundane objects underneath, many are no more than the stuff of dreams given shape. So long as changelings are the only ones to use them, it makes little difference if these items are "real" in the mortal sense. If changelings can see and feel these objects, they can sit on, lie on, wrap themselves in and eat with them.
Likewise, entire buildings may be enhanced by fae Glamour, taking on the trappings of chimerical abodes, welcoming havens and friendly gathering places. More fanciful places, such as a castle under a lake, may be made up entirely of Glamour, dreamed into existence and sculpted by masters among the fae craftsperson's and architects. Such dwellings cannot be seen or felt by those who have not been enchanted. They are not often constructed in places where mundane foot traffic is frequent, `lest a Banality-laden mortal stroll through, bringing them crashing to the ground. Most chimerical structures are laid over already-existing buildings, many of which are old, abandoned properties that attract little attention. What looks like a run-down bookstore with a sign that always says "Closed" might be a snug fae pub or the home of a fae noble. To changelings, the building looks freshly painted, with shining, newly washed windows.
Going one step further, changelings sometimes form entire towns or villages, though this has become increasingly uncommon in the modern era. Still, what looks like a ghost town to mortals might be a thriving Kithain community. Old ruins can take on new life as they are rebuilt with the stuff of the Dreaming, and mushroom rings can be transformed into faerie dancing grounds. Such places may hold a sense of the otherworldly within them long after changelings have left, or their chimerical aspects may be dispelled by the disbelief of a single skeptic. Chimerical conveyances are some of the rarest of inanimate chimera because they often have limited use. Like other objects, changelings can give their skateboards, motorcycles and cars chimerical aspects, changing their looks to impress, frighten or amuse other changelings. Such uses are far more common than imbuing a vehicle with powers from the Dreaming such as flight or the ability to climb sheer walls.
Traffic jams are fairly banal events, meaning that the chimerical aspects of conveyances can disappear in a flash, and mortal disbelief must be overcome or the area flooded with Glamour to allow a Kithain to ride a magic carpet through the air. Should mortal disbelief overcome a changeling's Glamour while she is flying on that magic carpet, she is immediately removed from the real world (as if Banality were protecting itself from the intrusion) and deposited somewhere within the Dreaming. Since the changeling is then effectively lost for hours, days or even years as she struggles to discover exactly where she is within the vastness of the Dreaming, most rarely chance such blatant shenanigans. Nonetheless, there are plenty of enchanted coaches and the like created to convey Kithain nobles to court in the style to which they are accustomed.Crafting Chimera
Nockers are master crafters when it comes to making chimerical objects and items, though boggans are also noted for their skill. Both kith take great delight in creating chimerical objects, but they are not the only changelings who can do so. Any changeling who possesses the skills can create chimera from the raw materials of the Dreaming. Creating exactly what she has in mind is sometimes harder than it sounds, though, and many misshapen or partially formed chimera arise from practice sessions. Many inanimate chimera are extremely short-lived or called up only at need. Exceptions to this are chimerical buildings or items that are in frequent use, such as clothing. Such chimera serve the purpose for which they were made and never grow beyond the control of their changeling masters. Others may take on sentience and escape into the Dreaming.
Chimerical Weapons and Damage
Chimerical weapons such as swords, battle axes and the like are in a class by themselves. They have reality only to changelings and those mortals whom changelings have enchanted. Most are created wholly of dreams, having no reality outside their chimerical existences. They cannot be seen or felt by mortals. Some chimerical weapons are the result of weaving Glamour into real-world items in much the same way chimerical clothing is created. These items can be seen by mortals, who may wonder why someone is waving a wooden stick over her head and "pretending" to fence with it. The damage that both of these types of chimerical weapons inflict is chimerical (or "unreal") damage.
While it feels very real to the changeling struck by such a weapon, and may even convince her that her arm or leg has been severed, her spine broken or her head crushed, the damage is not real in the same sense as deadly damage inflicted by real-world weapons. *: Rather than bruising, cutting or penetrating, chimerical weapons slice away a changeling's Glamour, tearing pieces of her faerie mien asunder and rendering her unconscious from the shock. The pain is just as devastating as any caused by mundane weapons, but what the changeling feels is actually the temporary murder of the fae spirit within her mortal flesh. Many describe the sensation as a deadening of their senses, a tearing pain and a cold numbness seeping into their very bones all feelings engendered by nurushing Banality. Upon awakening, changelings "killed" with chimerical weapons recall only their mortal lives.
They have no remembrance of their lives as Kithain or the existence of such things as changelings. Stripped of their Glamour, they have forcibly reentered the mundane world. They cannot see or interact with chimera even their own chimerical clothing and weaponry until they have become infused with Glamour once again and remember their fae heritage. A changeling who is so suddenly stripped of his Glamour may awaken to wonder why he is lying on a lawn in an unfamiliar area of town and clutching a butter knife. When a real-world object serves as the basis for constructing a chimerical weapon, it is often not a dangerous object in and of itself. Thus a stick, string and feather might be chimerically crafted into a bow and arrows, or an unsharpened pencil might be recreated as a scimitar. Likewise, a carpenter's hammer could be a war hammer in its chimerical aspect, or a penknife could be a deadly sharp dirk.It is rare, but not unheard of, for changelings to place a chimerical aspect over an actual mundane weapon. Chimerical damage is the accepted norm among Kithain, however.
Those who kill other changelings gain Banality when they do so,for they have robbed the world and the Dreaming of one of its dreams. A real sword can kill a changeling just as easily as it can slay a mortal. A chimerical aspect appended to a real sword simply inflicts chimerical damage atop potentially deadly real damage (i.e., chimerical damage strips the fae of her identity while the sword's physical damage harms her body). Since a changeling may assert her will to cause real damage with chimera anyway, there is rarely any point to adding a chimerical aspect to a mundane weapon, unless the chimerical aspect has some additional effect. Carrying around six-foot swords that everyone can see usually attracts unwanted attention from law enforcement anyway.
Chimerical TrappingsWhen creating or reawakening a freehold, a changeling must invest permanent Glamour (see "Freeholds"). He may then shape the freehold to some extent, altering it to suit his needs and desires. Thus a duchess might create an aviary filled with chimerical birds, while the duke who rules after her might decide that the space could be used more enjoyably as a kennel. A third changeling might utilize the space to create a rock garden. It all depends on the owner's mood and preferences. Some never change things, feeling that what was good enough for the ruler 600 years ago is good enough for today.
Even these traditionalists leave some imprint of their personalities on the freehold, however. Though they may leave things exactly as they found them, the freehold's current residents will find the contours and colors of chimerical objects often shift slightly to be as pleasing as possible. Such effects can be the flatware changing patterns, the garden's deep pink roses becoming lighter, or an uncomfortable chair "acquiring" a better cushion. When several changelings band together but cannot find a freehold of their own, they may still use their Glamour to place chimerical trappings over a mundane site, be it a house, room, forest learing or playground.
This gives them a place of their own where they can feel comfortable. Because each changeling gives a tiny bit of temporary Glamour to the undertaking, the enchantment is stronger and more resistant to being canceled by banal mortals who walk through the vicinity. The changelings can derive no Glamour from the site, as it is not an actual freehold or glade. Nonetheless, it provides those who visit with a home, workplace or amusement area where they can relax and be themselves away from prying mortal eyes.
Of Tunnels and Doorways and Chimerical DungeonsWhile it is possible to construct chimerical tunnels, doorways and even castles out of thin air, the open space for such things must exist. Solid reality must always be accounted for while in the mortal realm. Chimerical doorways cannot be placed in real walls and used to pass through them, though the illusion of a doorway can be made to appear. The wall is still solid despite the addition of a chimerical "decoration." Likewise, chimerical tunnels or dungeons cannot exist in solid earth. An underground freehold is possible only if it lies within an existing hollow space, such as a cave or mine, or because entering through the doorway of the freehold actually leads into the Near Dreaming. In the Dreaming, almost anything is possible. Chimerical dungeons within solid ground, staircases made of moonlight spiraling upward to the clouds, and flying houses made of candy canes are among the less fantastic structures found there.