I scoured the CtL book for examples but couldn't find any. If there are any I'd love a page number. Otherwise, if you have a link to a wiki with them I'd appreciate that as well.
[RPG] What are some example pledges to join a court in Changeling: The Lost
Descriptions of animals are scattered throughout the World of Darkness line; unfortunately, there is no single sourcebook that covers them all. Many of the ones you want can be found in
Blood of the Wolf, which is a supplement for Werewolf: the Forsaken. The core-line book
Skinchangers also has some.
As for your second question: the Contract you'll be taking is described on pages 143-4 of
Changeling: The Lost.
The creature's Physical Attributes replace the changeling's, but she retains her Social and Mental Attributes. Her Skills also remain the same. ... [S]he can run, fly, or swim normally. While in animal form, the character can speak all human languages she knows, and can also communicate normally with animals of the species she has become.
There's no explicit mention of Contracts; I'd do those on a case by case basis, leaning toward allowing their use while transformed.
I've been a player in a 6-month CtL campaign, and I'm currently co-DMing one, so, as you can see, there are plenty of possibilities to use CtL in a campaign setting.
I'll try to adress your various points one by one (although maybe not necessarly in order) :
- How to link the characters :
- A first good method is to have them be of the same court, or the same two courts. This way, you have a starting point to tie some of your characters together, and to introduce court-related plot points. Having some cours where your characters are not is also important : this way, there are things that your players don't know, and that is really important for you, as it allows you to use these other courts to scheme the way you want. If one of your characters don't want to be in one of the courts you need, you can have him be from a foreign court (eg : in a setting using the Seasonal Courts, have him be a Chinese businessman from the North Court, trying to implant a branch of its company here), or even be Courtless.
- Furthermore, remember the motley mechanic is here to help you. I'll address some good campaign starters in following points, but as soon as you sense you have a group dynamic, you can try to orient your players to form a motley, maybe even share a Hollow. If you make good use of pledges, they can simply be linked by a motley pledge, and have to follow the group because they swore to protect their friends.
- Threats to start a campaign with :
- You do not need your full meta-plot ready in the first sessions. In the campaigns I played (again, this is a purely empirical point of view, I do not affirm it's the best), the first scenario followed a simple rule : take some characters, put all of them in deep trouble, and watch how they have to form a group to get out of it. In the campaign I played, we found ourselves with a ODed changeling on our arms, and we had to find how to prove it wasn't our fault before his Summer friends come and break our knees in tiny little pieces. In the one I'm DMing, the players (without knowing each other before) all experienced the same nightmare (a bad trip from a Dream-Poisoned human), and had to understand why they were all here, and who was this guy that seemed in all that pain.
- Campaign ideas :
- In the previous point, I showed you how you could start your campaign with a simple plot. From here, you just need to watch your players, and see what kind of meta-plot would be good for them. They directly go to their courts, and try to charm their ways out of it ? Make a political campaign, with intrigues interacting directly with their lives. In my first campaign, we started at one-mantle-dot in the court, and finished with one in our group as Autumn Queen. This is just an example, but you get the point : see what they want to do, and use it to choose where you want to go.
- Furthermore, as said in the Storytelling part of the core book, CtL is more or less a fairy tale. Yes, a sad one, a dark one, one made of darkness and broken dreams. But the thing to remember here is that the global plot may be one of the fairy tale : kill the traitor, save the girl, things like that. CtL provides plenty of possible enemies apart from the Faes : hobs, Loyalists, Privateers, Bridge-Burners, or maybe just crazy humans.
- Character development :
- What's great in CtL is that it's a game that allows you to combine the two : a meta-plot, with great enemies to fight and things to understand, and a deep RP environment to build your characters. I'll even say that the meta-plot is kind of second here : with all they've been through, for me, the main part of playing CtL is watching how the players try to regain their life back, or create a new one. It can be anything : for example, in the campaign I played, even if the meta-plot was that we were trying to destroy a fae-touched drug ring of Loyalists, my character, on his side, became a country-famed juggler, and created its own show, and even his own kind of art, influenced by Faerie magic. And, frankly, that was the thing that marked the most
To finish, I'd advise you to read the books (all of them, if you can), as they are full of good ideas.
(nota bene : I'm not an English native, so please excuse the eventual errors. And if you need any more info, feel free to ask :))
The pledge you are looking for is called Commendation and is found on page 189 of the core Changeling book.
Page 181 of the Changeling core book has the Vassalage boon and a side panel that explains that freeholds come in many shapes and sizes but the ones that are enforced by the Wyrd are usually pledges of loyalty sworn to an anointed ruler.
If you are interested in an example of one that is in play after many revisions and years of play, feel free to look at the one for a game that I'm a part of.