There are a lot of ways to interpret the themes as written in the Changeling: the Lost book line. The different writers had different priorities, different ways of viewing the world, and like all roleplaying games, the books were written as guidelines for STs to use to shape the world -- not as holy dogma.
This page holds OUR interpretation of those rules.
Where topics are covered in exhausting detail else-page, pages are referenced for your convenience.
We are playing in the World of Darkness. Emphasis on darkness. As far as staff is concerned, and as far as stories are concerned, that means a careful pruning of concepts and backgrounds to reinforce the themes involved.
Does this mean you can't be a cutesy giggly airhead cat-Beast? No, of course it doesn't. You just have to remember, and incorporate, that you are a cutesy giggly airhead in a world where your best friend might get her hand cut off by strangers in the woods to sell for parts, or where maybe you are so airheaded as a coping mechanism to avoid falling apart from the trauma of your horrific life.
Overall, we are going for a tone of "struggling to be a light in dark places" here. Struggle, fight, beat it back, and earn yourself safety and joy, always knowing that the darkness is outside your window, waiting. It was there first, and it remembers.
Reinforcing Tone Through Story
What does this mean in terms of your day to day play? Staff will be most supportive of stories, PRPs, and will be running "meta" plots which really strive to hit home on the gut-deep recognition of danger. Uncertainty. Wariness, suspicion.
Changelings shouldn't feel like they are safe.
Hospitality is sacrosanct precisely because of the dangers inherent in living half in our world, half in theirs.
Staff will be drawing attention to the struggles and the fears, and the reason why such disparate Courts have joined together, despite the differences in their personal agendas: they need each other to survive. This means that, yes, there will be constant pressure from outside, and even if staff isn't running stories to that effect at any given moment, players are encouraged to do so.
To contrast this, the regular humdrum mortal world will putter along as it always has -- or will it? How will your actions affect what our poor mortal players have to deal with? How will THEIR actions affect what YOU have to deal with? After all, there are a lot more of them than there are of you. Staff fully intends to reinforce that.
As a caution for those interested in RPing characters outside the Courts, it can be tough. You have no support network you don't build, yourself. If you are Courtless, you WILL be more likely to be harassed by NPCs trying to pick you off, since you are, supposedly, easier pickings. Have fun with it! Learn to be clever enough, strong enough, or gain allies enough to avoid the IC persecution, or suffer the IC consequences if you don't. Be proud of your own personal integrity, your ability to withstand what others can't -- or don't, but just be aware that you WILL be excluded from a lot, thematically.
These are handled on other pages. By and large, though, our stance theme-wise is that they do exist, they are everywhere, and everyone is likely to have at least one of them, if not more. They are commonplace trade items.
The lower ones.
Per theme, staff is reinforcing the amazing crazy legendary status of 5-dot tokens by making them quite difficult to get.
In addition to dangers of getting lost, being watched, being hunted by oh so many things, remember that it isn't all flowers and forests and castles. Very specifically, the book indicates that the Near Hedge looks like here. People get sucked in and lost because they wander down a path and don't even realize they've left the real world.
A Hedge gate in town isn't going to lead to a sudden explosion of thorny gardens and golden lakes -- it's more likely to be a turn down the wrong street where the houses look off, haunted, and was someone weird just peeking past that curtain at you?
Being very specific about the Near Hedge:
The Deep Hedge is another story, but it is still in the line of folklore, not fantasy. The farther you go, the stranger it gets. This is where you'll get your obviously unnatural life all around you, with no real resemblance to the mortal world.
Arcadia is the kicker.
This is where any semblance of natural laws goes out the window.
You are alive because you have made the tacit agreement that the air you are breathing is air, and is breathable. You have made the agreement that the food you eat will nourish you, that the water you drink will slake your thirst.
The Domains in Arcadia ARE the Fae who rule them, to a greater or lesser extent. They make their own decisions about what the interior decorating style of choice will be. Thematically, this is is the ONLY place where totally fantastic places such as candycane castles with flying Twinkies and post-apocalyptic nuclear wastelands are reasonable and likely to exist.