|Images of changelings|
Source: Bestiary 4, pg(s). 29
Changelings are always born female and they can resemble any of the races that their hag mothers trick into coupling including dwarves, gnomes, orcs and even goblins, but humans are most common. Regardless of their father's race, changelings always appear slim and exceptionally pale, they are often — but not always — also distinguished by having mismatched, differently coloured eyes. Changelings also normally possess an aura of oddness that often prevents them being fully accepted into their birth-father's society.
Changelings are born when a hag tricks a male of certain species into coupling with her; the hag will normally murder and eat the changeling's father before he can ever see his daughter. After giving birth, the hag will then abandon the child with a family or an organisation of the father's race that she believes will care for the child, like a temple. The limited powers inherited from the changeling's hag mother normally manifest around puberty, the changeling finds herself able to see in the dark, her skin gains a supernatural hardness and her nails subtly change becoming sharp and hard enough to effectively function as claws. They are also fundamentally infused with inhuman magic and often become powerful witches or sorceresses. Despite these differences, it is very possible for a changeling to be completely unaware of her supernatural origin.
Around the same time changelings develop their new-found abilities, they also hear the Call, a powerful psychic cry issued by their hag mother that is designed to lure them away from their foster communities. Most changelings feel it as a lust to wander but its origin is much more sinister: the changeling's mother forms a coven with at least two other hags to summon their wayward daughters home. Those who follow the call are abducted and subjected to an horrific ritual that harnesses their innate magic and twists their physical form eventually resulting in the birth of a new hag. Some changelings who have been subjected to rejection and persecution actually embrace this wicked metamorphosis.
Changelings vary greatly depending not only on the species which whom the hag mated, but on the hag parent herself. These differences fall into the following categories known as heritages, while the changelings who exhibit these differences are known as mays. Below is a list of the best-known heritages along with their hag parents:
- Annis-born changelings or slag mays (annis hag)
- Ash-born changelings or hearth mays (ash hag)
- Blood-born changelings or veil mays (blood hag)
- Dreamthief-born changelings or waker mays (dreamthief hag)
- Green-born changelings or callow mays (green hag)
- Mute-born changelings or sorrow mays (mute hag)
- Night-born changelings or moon mays (night hag)
- Sea-born changelings or brine mays (sea hag)
- Storm-born changelings or virga mays (storm hag)
- Winter-born changelings or snow mays (winter hag)
Habitat & society
Changelings grow up in the society of their fathers and this shapes much of their character: despite their monstrous mother, they have no predisposition towards evil. Unfortunately, her innate otherness often marks a changeling as an innate outcast, as a result of which they often relate easiest with other mixed heritage outsiders, especially half-elves. Those who are embraced by their adopted society, however, find it easiest to ignore the sinister call of their progenitor. Changelings can be found wherever hags dwell: places such as Varisia, the River Kingdoms and the fey-haunted Verduran Forest. They are comparatively common in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, where they associated with the powerful seeress norns, the witch kingdom of Irrisen, and are most common in the haunted kingdom of Ustalav.
Changelings, unfortunately, occupy a terrifying place amongst the folklore of the Inner Sea region, representing some primal feeling that even those a person thinks they know may not be what they seem. In these tales, changelings become manipulative monsters using their human form to torment their community. Unfortunately, these, often false, tales can lead to the very real persecution of any changeling whose heritage is discovered. The same folklore also claims that changelings who resist the call are rewarded after death by Pharasma who turns their souls into one of the psychopomps known as shoki.
- Adam Daigle and Patrick Renie. (2011). Bestiary. The Haunting of Harrowstone, p. 84. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-308-8
- Paizo Staff. (2013). Bestiary 4, p. 29. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-575-4
- Benjamin Bruck, et al. (2015). Inner Sea Races, p. 169. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-722-2
- John Compton, Eleanor Ferron, Crystal Frasier, et al. (2017). Blood of the Coven, p. 4-9. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-982-0
- Adam Daigle and Patrick Renie. (2011). Bestiary. The Haunting of Harrowstone, p. 85. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-308-8
- Benjamin Bruck, et al. (2015). Inner Sea Races, p. 168. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-722-2