The House on Hook Street
Born of mysterious origins and raised by unknowing foster parents, changelings are the children of hags and their tricked lovers. Most do not know of their monstrous origins, but there comes a time in every changeling’s life when these roots begin to call out to their host, urging the confused girl toward some end she cannot identify.
Changelings are always female, tall, and slender. A changeling’s hair is typically dark and her skin abnormally pale, but she otherwise looks for all practical purposes like a member of her father’s race. A frequent but not universal trait of changelings is their mismatched, different-colored eyes. Upon reaching puberty and adulthood, the average changeling stands approximately 5-1/2 feet tall and weighs about 110 pounds.
When a hag of any sort conceives a child with a man, the result is a changeling. The male parent is usually eaten or killed by his partner before he can see the offspring, or else flees the area in shame upon discovering the true nature of his lover, and the hag herself interacts with the child just long enough to set it on the stoop of some unsuspecting family or temple. Depending on the race of her father, a changeling can resemble any type of humanoid, including dwarves, gnomes, and even orcs and goblins.
A changeling and her new family are never aware of the strange child’s true parents, but in most cases everyone involved is keenly aware that there is something odd about the frail child with the ghostly pallor. Even the young girl herself can easily see that she possesses abilities others do not—powers that are subtle at younger ages and only truly begin to manifest themselves when she reaches adolescence. It is around puberty that the changeling begins to hear what hags refer to as “the call,” a hypnotic, spiritual voice that only she can hear and that beckons her to travel. To where, the changeling does not know, but the underlying prospect of finding out her true origins is often enough to drive the girl to seek out the source of this mystical voice.
The voice is in fact that of the changeling’s birth mother, who forms a coven with two others hags in order to summon her child back to her, now that she is old enough to fully transform into a hag. This transformative ritual is a barbaric one that only the most determined changelings willingly go through; upon arriving at the coven, it is usually too late to turn back for changelings who were merely drawn to the voice by curiosity. Those who seek power, however, identify with the hags, and happily go through the ordeal in order to unlock their dormant abilities. Regardless of her desires, though, a changeling who has undergone the transformation cannot go back; once she becomes a hag, she remains a hag, and her mind turns as wicked as her form has turned hideous.
Changelings who ignore the call eventually cease to hear it. In this case, a hag mother sometimes disguises herself and ventures into civilization, seeking out her daughter. If she finds her, she lures the girl back to the coven, where she can perform the ritual of transformation. The process of performing the call or physically retrieving the changeling is taxing, though, and many hags find it easier to simply lure in another mate and birth another
changeling in hopes that this one will heed the ever-tantalizing call.
Habitat & Society
Raised wherever she will be accepted, a changeling has no real say in the habitat she grows up in. Families who inadvertently raise changelings often react in one of two ways toward the strange child’s development of supernatural powers: they either embrace the girl, nurturing her and her gift, or they disown her as an abomination, casting her out into a world of loneliness and resentment. Of course, this reaction to her power often has a huge influence over the changeling’s course of action as a young adult. Changelings who are accepted by their adopted society often don’t see the need to follow their mothers’ voices, instead using their powers for their own ends, whereas shunned individuals almost always answer the call and become treacherous hags with embittered hearts and shattered souls.
Hags usually prefer to mate with the prevalent and fecund humans of Golarion, producing changelings that resemble humans. Changelings of other races do occur, but their attitude and outlook are much more dependent on the attitudes of their adoptive parents than on their racial background.
Changelings rarely band together with other changelings, as hags only seldom allow their unions to result in offspring, and changelings encountering others of their type may never recognize their shared origins. Thus, the abandoned offspring graft themselves into whatever society will accept them, adapting to new roles with remarkable ease. If a changeling chooses to heed the call that beckons her as a young woman, she quickly finds herself in an entirely different sort of society: hags, though accepting of their own brood, are quite unlike any other creatures, and their form of culture is so primitive and evil that it can hardly be called culture at all. A changeling-turned-hag follows the same patterns as her mother and other brethren, eventually charming an unwitting suitor and creating a changeling offspring of her own, repeating the vicious cycle.
Having no innate predisposition toward evil, a changeling’s values are solely a product of her environment, and any given individual is just as likely to perform evil as she is to act righteously. Often, though, a changeling’s slightly unusual appearance marks her as the target for harassment, potentially leading her toward a vengeful path. Any means of releasing innate magical energy is good enough for the changeling, and many become witches.