A downloadable game

Buy Now$8.00 USD or more

Content Warning: This is a game about autism, ableism, the pain of pretending to be neurotypical, and the difficulties that neurotypicals place upon autistic people. It uses a metaphor that paints autistic people as literally non-human, which I personally resonate with in a positive way, but understand can be uncomfortable or triggering for others.

There’s a story that sometimes, fairies take children away and replace them with changelings: fairy-children of their own, who have strange mannerisms like being unwilling to look others in the eye, being more articulate than their age would suggest, or speaking with woodland creatures. All your life, people have whispered that you were a changeling, because you didn’t act the way they expected you to, didn’t fit in the way they wanted you to. This is mostly a case of unreasonable expectations on their part, but at the same time… you do have a little bit of fairy magic, don’t you? You’re already on such thin ice, will you reveal that magic to the people you care about, even if it might alienate you even further? 

Strange Changeling Child is a solo game played with a single piece of paper, two six-sided dice that you can clearly tell apart from each other, and a writing implement. You can also play with a digital notepad file instead of a pencil and paper, but I suggest analogue if you’re able.

Over play, you'll narrate the story of a changeling who hasn't yet told any of their loved ones that they're secretly a fairy, but as play continues, those loved ones will find out, for better or for worse. 

Thanks to Valis Teoh, Emily Care Boss, Al Cusack, Madeline McDaniel, Gaelyn Autumnsong, and everyone involved in the IGDN Diversity Sponsorship of 2020 for helping make this game a reality!

StatusReleased
CategoryPhysical game
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(22 total ratings)
AuthorLexi the Fae
Tagsautism, Fairy Tale, GM-Less, journaling, lyric, poc-made, Singleplayer, solo, zine

Purchase

Buy Now$8.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $8 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Strange Changeling Child Singles.pdf 501 kB
Strange Changeling Child Spreads.pdf 396 kB
Strange Changeling Child Text-Only.rtf 43 kB

Community Copy

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Community Copies

This game was written for consideration for LEVEL 1, the Free RPG Day Anthology by 9th Level Games, so it naturally seems appropriate to ensure that there are free copies available to those who need them! Not sure whether you count? You probably do, go ahead and take one!

In addition, if you're autistic or otherwise neurodivergent and interested in Strange Changeling Child, please reach out to me via twitter and I'll generate a download code for you! 

Finally, I also offer a no-questions-asked opt-in 50% off hardship discount for people who want to pay what they can, but can't quite justify spending $8 USD due to exchange rates, financial troubles, or any other reason. 

Development log

Comments

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hello hello!! i played this game with a changeling oc i already had established because they were absolutely perfect for this game. i only had one character for them to have as a confidante, their best friend they went to boarding school with (which they went 2 bc they "acted out" bc of said changeling antics) so i needed to make them some others. i decided upon it being their family and picked myself some names. i decided first to have them confess to their older brother because it was the one that came up first in the narrative and he rolled to be a changeling too. i almost cried. 

just-- the concept of my oc, getting sent to boarding school for their problems to get straightened out, while their brother just. somehow escaped that?? was better at hiding it?? i don't even know. it adds a layer of hurt to the comfort of having someone like them. i also just love it so much, it added so much and made my character, who was so disconnected from their family after not seeing them in 10 years, have someone else they could rely on.

i'm so excited to play this again more personally rather than just with an oc but i wanted to share this experience!! thank you for this amazing game <3

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I like this a lot, but there's one change I did that made me like it even more. I rolled for how confidantes react before I started. 

If I had four confidantes, then I rolled four times and wrote down the results. When a confidante discovered my fairy nature, I would pick one of the results, depending on what made the most sense for that character and the situation. That way their reaction was a little less random and could fit my story better. If anyone tries it this way, tell me how it went and if you liked it.

All my love, Sage.

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Hold on, I’m going to ramble a lot here. But the tl;dr: is, I loved it. It was a powerful experience. I recommend trying to play alongside other Neurodivergent friends if possible. 

I just played this game with a few other ND friends (Autistic, ADHD plus others). We all seemed to have a pretty powerful experience but I can only speak to my own. I’m an ADHDer and this past year has involved a lot of soul searching. I came across this game at a particularly vulnerable time and had been waiting to play it until I had a group of like-minded folks to play alongside with. Yay parallel play! 

I am a member of the Community of Applied Spiritual and Therapeutic Tabletop Gamers (CASTT Gamers) and this game perfectly illustrated how games can help you learn about yourself, the world, your place in the world, and beyond. From just 2 hours of game play I realized why I’m always so burned out, why I feel like I’m never just doing “okay”, and why I always feel like I’m never enough. I knew some of these things beforehand. But Strange Changeling Child condensed all that stuff I “know” into a few hours. It’s a simple game, almost deceptively simple, but it will be sticking with me for a long time. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my confidantes reveal that they were also changelings. This is why I was so grateful for my ND friends to have joined me. Having them there, experiencing it in a similar way, and also relating to all of the experiences that they were willing to share helped validate my experience and make me not feel alone. I think if you’re the type that would struggle with coming up with your own scenarios you could easily add a DM/GM function with a safe friend and IRL confidante. 

When I play it again I plan to have my character and the confidantes a little more removed from my real life. I also hope to play into some more fantastical elements and make it more magical. I definitely leaned into the downsides of my neurodivergence and I hope that next time I can elaborate on my fairy magic and what it is for me. I’ll also be making a little chart to make it easier to reference when I change my Fey, and the moves. Just so my brain can more easily digest the information.

Wow. That was long-winded. Overall. This is a deceptively simple game that serves as a fairly perfect allegory for what ND folx, particularly Autists,and maybe just as well, ADHERs. I could see hacking this game for a variety of marginalized identities but ultimately wouldn’t want to change the original intent of the game. 

Thank you for this game <3

Wow!!! Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it! I'm also glad that you were able to play this together in a group, that sounds like a tremendously rewarding experience, and if I ever revisit the game for a new edition, then advice for playing with IRL confidantes would be a great idea, thank you so much!!! 

I would be happy to help in any way. I see myself revisiting your game several times in my near future.

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I really appreciate this game.  I played a relatively short game, with only two confidants, and got a "good" ending with nobody leaving me when they found out my changeling nature.   I wasnt expecting myself to be so strongly affected by it, emotionally, and yet, I was STRONGLY affected.  Probably because I put my character thru situations similar to what I experienced growing up, oops.

Its an emotionally intense game, and its important to be gentle with yourself if you play it and not bite off more than you could chew.

I'm just always happy to see autistic art, so I bought this game twice, once on its own and once in the fundraiser unsale bundle.  Thank you for making this game <3.

Here is our character sheet.  Our apologies for our messy handwriting and unorthodox switching of writing directions.


edit: Oh, the itch comments section formatting seems to elongate images.  Thats frusturating. It seems like if you open the image in a new tab tho, it displays normally.


(+1)

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! I'm really glad that the game struck a chord with you, and thank you so much for the additional support while we're fundraising! 

I'm not able to see the image, even opening it in a new tab. If you're willing, I'd love it if you emailed it to me at alexa(dot)fae(dot)mcdaniel@gmail(dot)com!