So it had now been 6 months or so since I started my chronicle for Changeling: the Lost, the 5 game in the New World of Darkness line by White Wolf. I gave my initial impressions here, but I think I can add to that now having run the game for so long.
Changeling has struck me that it can be just as dark a game, if not scarier than, Vampire: the Requiem. It has been some time coming, but I have now really hit my stride with the game, now with just an episode to go of it (about 2 -3 sessions) and the players have come to fear the Fae, distrust other Changelings, make pledges, and be involved in the beautiful madness of the Changeling Freehold.
But now, with hindsight, what things work and what don't?
Well for starters Changeling in crammed packed with stuff in the core that you will unlikely use to their fullest unless you have an episode focus on it. For example I have found that Oneiromancy and Hedge travel are rare events, and only come up if the players are interested in going down that route. So, despite there are involved rules for these things, do not be put off by it since I can guarantee that you will more than likely not deal with these that often if you set a story predominantly in the real world.
The Fae themselves are a great antagonist. There is the ever constant fear of them being at your back, and just behind the mirror, and so Changeling has and almost constant tension of paranoia. Something that is heightened by the fact there is the paranoia induced by other Changelings, something that I have used to my advantage when running games. I would definitely suggest using the Fae sparingly, and their minions more. Especially those mortals being used by the Fae and fuelled by nightmares.
Contracts themselves are fairly fun, however, I am often left finding that their progression in function is sometimes a little strange or random. But then that just adds to the flexibility of the Lost.
The politics of Freeholds is of course easy tom implement and ripe for plot and intrigue, but the pledge system is definitely something to eyeball well. I have found that leaving less rules inclined players to work out pledges is too time consuming, and it is often better to ask what they wish to achieve and work it out for them and just deal with the wording. This is had a monumental speed up in the use of pledges. Of course the best pledge is the Motley pledge as it binds the characters together and gets the players working together.
If anything the only thing Changeling is guilty of is having too many options, and this makes it a bit of a problem for players to remember what they can do with a character.