Everyone deserves an open ear and a helping hand
Deep inside, Ezra is a good-hearted person, trying to bring good to this world. But, as a Changeling, they struggle with their own sense of identity and hide behind personas they have fabricated throughout their life. Their continued self-deception fuels their deepest fear - losing the little they've learned about who they truly are.
Ezra firmly believes Selune, the goddess of the moon, stars, wanderers, questers and protector of all shape-changing creatures, guides them, to bring good to everyone around them. Their parent taught them to be understanding and accepting of anybody, helping wherever they can, always having an understanding ear for those who are lonely and a helping hand for those in need.
Ezra can take on the look of anybody they have ever encountered. But they do not just change their appearance, they build complete personas around each of their faces. Those personas range from shallow Masks they just use for a very short amount of time to full Lives they live for multiple years. All their personas are them, some are just "more them" than others.
Between all those different personas, if you look really closely, you will find similarities. Ezra can change minor details about their appearance, so they try to always use the same slight purple eye color, if they can. Using an appearance without this eye color makes them feel incomplete and vulnerable. It's their anchor when everything else changes - something fixed that always stays the same. Also, their love for music is noticeable, no matter which persona they are currently using. They always love playing and creating music, sometimes just for themselves, sometimes for others.
"Music? I love music! Music can do so much! It can bring people together and it can cheer people on. It can provide comfort if you had a rough day and you can express your deepest feelings with it. Music transcends borders and differences. And honestly, you can just have a lot of fun with it. There is nothing better than being around friends and listening or dancing to some nice music, don’t you agree?"
The most simple personas Ezra calls Masks. Masks are always a means to an end and lack depth. They just take over a face for a specific situation or goal, but hate doing it. It feels like literally wearing a mask and acting out a role. They will only use Masks if they are forced to do so, or think they can achieve something they could never do otherwise. Wearing a Mask feels like lying to everybody around them and even if they are incredibly good at deceiving people, they really hate doing it.
"Ever played theater? It's nice to just put on a mask and make people laugh, but it's still not you. You are playing a role and that's exactly what I'm doing when I just pick up an appearance. It can be nice from time to time, and sometimes even nessesary, but - honestly - I hate doing it. It's just not me."
On the other extreme, they have personas they call Lives. They create Lives if they intend to stay at a place for a long time. Lives are exactly what they sound like. They are complete personas and personalities they live for multiple years. They create bonds and friendships with others, but never let somebody get too close, as they know they will move on to another Life at some point.
We can't stay in one place forever, it's too dangerous. People fear us for what we can do, and who could blame them? Someone with our abilities could impersonate their best friend, their wife, a guard, or even the king himself, and they might never know. They do not understand what we do. People fear the unknown and fear brings them to do horrible things. It's better if they don't know what we are and what we can do. So be careful!
They use Lives to improve as a person and learn new things, while helping those around them. Lives will influence all current and future personas in some form, but once they leave a Life behind, they won’t use that persona anymore. Leaving a Life behind is one of the hardest things they do, so providing a clean cut by no longer using the persona is easier than constantly being reminded of what they have left behind. Ezra usually leaves a Life when they fear being detected as a changeling, or think they have accomplished enough to move on and help others somewhere else.
"It's hard leaving everyone behind every couple years, but it's the only way. I can't risk anyone knowing about my nature. They won't understand."
But the personas most close to their heart they call True Personas. Those personas are truly them - at least Ezra sees it that way. Those are personas they are regularly using and feel most comfortable with. If they don’t need to hide, they will freely switch between those personas, depending on what they need at the time. While living one Life they might decide to switch to one of their True Personas when nobody is watching, or spend a few days in one of those personas as some form of vacation.
JessThe Fighter and Leader
Appearance: They actually don’t know who this face belonged to originally. It’s a persona they’ve inherited from their parent. It was Myzra's go to persona if things got tough and they thought it would be a good idea to give that to their child.
Jess by Setsuretsu
Is this all you've got? Don't try to fool me. I know you can do better than this! I've seen you do way more impressive things! Get up, and show them what you've got, or was it all luck previously? Yeah, I don't think so either, so stop pitying yourself and get the fuck up!
Jess is a natural leader. She uses her charismatic personality to push others to their limit. She wants to get the best out of everybody, but would never demand something she would not be comfortable doing herself. She always tries to lead by example. Jess thinks way more analytical than Nic. She has no problem in fighting for what she thinks is right and to protect the people she cares about by force if necessary. She will still try to find another solution, but won’t push it as far as Nic would.
Let me be very clear here. Should you ever just think about hurting anybody ever again, I will find you and I will make sure that's the last thing you'll ever do. I will make your life a living nightmare, until you break down like the people you've hurt. This is your last chance. So fucking leave, and make sure I will never, ever see you again!
NicThe Traveler and Best Friend
Appearance: Shortly after leaving home, Ezra met a girl named Rebecca and traveled with her for a few days before reaching Waterdeep. A friendship formed between the two, the first real friendship Ezra ever had, and that made them panic and they ran off. To this day, they wonder what happened to their first real friend.
Instrument: Harp Guitar
Nic by Setsuretsu
I know it's sometimes hard to stand back up, but they don't know you, so don't let them tell you what you can or can't do. I'm sure you will be able to do this eventually. But for now, how about just grabbing a drink and hanging out? Sometimes taking a break is the best thing you can do. Let's get your mind off what just happened.
Nic is a happy, good-hearted and curious person who enjoys traveling and seeing the world. She is open and outgoing, does not think much about what she does and acts more on instinct and what feels right in the moment. She always wants to enjoy life to its fullest, but wants for others to do so as well. Nic will happily take a step back and cheer on everybody around her. Nic will go out of her way to avoid a fight and find a peaceful solution for everyone involved. She will fight for what she thinks is right, but only after exhausting every other possibility. She was the first, and so far the only True Persona Ezra built themselves. Using the face of their first real friend to do so seemed fitting to them.
Their True Self
Ezra's True Form by Setsuretsu
But if they would look deep into themselves, they would realize something. All those personas, all those Lives and Masks, are not really them, at least not fully. They tell you they move on, because they fear being detected as a changeling or have accomplished enough and they really believe that lie, but that still does not make it true. The truth is, they subconsciously realize that there is more to them than that one Life and they become restless until they have to leave it behind and move on.
In some sense they are running from themselves, because buried beneath all of those personas, hidden deep inside of them, there is another persona. A persona they are not even aware of yet, or just chose to ignore. This persona is their True Self, this is who they really are. Not one of their lives, not one of their True Personas, but a combination of all of them and so much more.
Ezra - Their first Life
Ezra was born in the small town of Red Larch, just a few days north of Waterdeep. They were raised by their single changeling parent, Myzra, who settled in Red Larch, just weeks before giving birth to Ezra. Ezra never met their father, and Myzra never talked much about him. The only thing Ezra knows is that he is an Elf, who Myzra met during their travels. Ezra learned very early on everything they had to know to blend in with others. They learned a lot about many cultures, their history and language, they learned how to forge documents if necessary and they learned how to help people with healing and medicine. They also learned how to play different stringed instruments and how to create music. Music always had and always will have a big place in Ezra's life, the same way it has in Myzra's. So for the next few years, both their days looked pretty similar. They worked together on the fields in the morning and studied in the afternoon. From time to time, Ezra helped at a local inn, just to earn some extra coin and meet new people. They always enjoyed talking to strangers and hearing stories from all over the world.
At roughly ten years old, Ezra grew really sick. To this day, they do not have any memory of that time. Myzra did all they could to save their child, but their knowledge and abilities eventually reached their end. When all seemed lost, a priest of Selune, covered in a long veil and colorful clothes, came through Red Larch. This priest heard of Ezra's conditions and used the magic of Selune to cure Ezra. For Myzra, this was a deeply spiritual experience. Myzra always knew that Selune was the protector of all shape-changers, but this event made them realize that Selune really seems to care about all of them, and they began to worship her, as well as teaching Ezra the basics about that faith. Before leaving, the priest gifted Myzra a small medallion with the symbol of Selune. Later on in Ezra's life, they will find out the truth about this small gift and they will learn about a connection they have to Selune, but at this point neither Myzra nor Ezra had any idea about what they had just gotten or why that priest helped the two of them. Shortly before their 15th birthday, the day that had been lingering at the horizon for so long got closer and closer. Out of fear of being detected, Changelings never stay in a place for too long. It is even rarer that two changelings stay together for an extended period of time. So Ezra knew from an early age that they would have to leave this Life behind, as soon as they learned enough to watch out for themselves. They also knew that after they left this place, Myzra would move on to another Life as well, and the two would never meet again. And now this day had come.
Myzra's Medallion by Setsuretsu
I always knew this day would come eventually, but this does not make it any easier. The last 15 years with you have been the best ones of my life. I love you and I always will, but it's time to say goodbye. I know you will find your way through this world, and I know you will do great things. So go out there and be the best person you can be and Selune will protect and guide you. Have a great life, do good and be safe. I love you.The two celebrated Ezra's birthday together one last time. It's custom for changelings to gift their children a necklace before they leave. A changeling will use this necklace to keep trinkets of all their lives, a way to remember who they have been in the past. So, as a parting gift, Myzra gifted such a necklace to their child, already holding the medallion of Selune as Ezra's first trinket. This necklace is Ezra's most valued possession, and the Medallion is their connection to their first life in Red Larch. Under no circumstances would they part with either of those two. Myzra also gave their own armor to Ezra. An armor that can change appearance at will, to fit any persona Ezra might use in the future. So after sunrise the next morning, Ezra and Myzra heavy heartedly said their last goodbyes, assuming they would never meet again, and Ezra made their way towards Waterdeep, leaving their first Life behind.
Alex - A Barkeep in WaterdeepIn their first few days in Waterdeep, they stumbled upon a nice, cosy place called the Night Sky Tavern. The name by itself immediately piqued their interest, and the moment they stepped inside, they knew they would love this place. The tavern was owned by a dwarven family who were big music enthusiasts, even if they could not play much music themselves. So instead, they tried to provide a stage for new and experienced musicians alike. Every evening, to this day, you will find a new artist playing there. So when Ezra heard they were looking for a barkeep, they immediately applied.
"Damn it, I just loved this place. All those great people, all this music. It was amazing! Being alone for the very first time, this place just felt like home."
Chris - The Bard of Triboar
Chris by Portrait Workshop
Orba - The Life that should not have been
Instrument: 12-stringed Guitar
Orba by Setsuretsu
"I shoudn't have returned to Redlarch before traveling off, but I think it was Selune's way to show me what to do. I just could not leave, without visiting it one last time. It was my home for 15 years, it's where I grew up."
"I could not leave those people. They needed help, and that's what I did! They have lost their homes and found refuge with the wrong people. It wasn’t their fault, they were just misguided. I had to help them, but what should I have done by myself? Sure, I could treat the symptoms, but not the cause - not until those three showed up."
New BeginningsUsually, this would be the time when Ezra would create another Life, but this time was different. This time they did not fully leave their last Life behind. They were still working against the Cult, the same way Orba had been, and the other members of the Thundercats knew about their nature and who they have been in their previous life. For the time being, they were traveling as their True Personas, most of the time as Nic. Ezra always felt some sort of connection to Selune. They always somehow knew that she was guiding and protecting them. During their life as Alex, they often visited the House of the Moon, a temple of Selune in Waterdeep and, after all that had happened in the Mere, they visited the temple another time. After taking a close look at the medal they have been wearing around their neck for years, they suddenly had a deeply spiritual experience.
Ezra found themselves in an endless desert of white sand, under a beautiful night sky, the sound of quiet music in the air. Even if they did not know where they were, they somehow knew they were safe. Taking a deep breath, they walked towards the horizon, farther and farther. Beautiful white sand stretching as far as their eyes could see and what could have been minutes or hours later, they arrived at a raised stone platform, with five mirrors standing on top of it. Standing between the five mirrors, they turned around to look at the first one. To their surprise, they did not see Nic's face, but the face of a young half-elven boy. "My first Life. It was so long ago.", they thought. Turning to the next mirror, a man with wavy hair and a well-kept beard looked back at them. "Alex, I wonder what happened to that tavern. I hope it is still around." And another mirror, this time a girl, her hair beautifully made and a cello in her hand, "Chris, I loved playing music every day. It was nice". And then the fourth mirror, staring back at them, an old and kind Gnoll, "Orba, I hope I did well.". Then they closed their eyes and turned to the fifth mirror. A bit of fear struck them. The first four showed their four lives, but what will the fifth show? They did not live a fifth Life yet. Taking a deep breath, they slowly opened their eyes, but the mirror stayed empty. “Who are you?”
"I know who I am! I'm Nic! The same way I'm Jess and the same way I have been Orba, Alex or Chris. They are all me, and I am them ... I think."
Whatever will happen next, one thing is certain. This time will be different. This time, they won't just be able to move on and build another Life. This time, they can't run away from their previous Life. This time, they will finally have to deal with who they really are. So...
"Who are you deep inside?"
"Who are you deep inside?"
Ezra is one of my current D&D characters, and they have been living rent free in my brain for about a year now. Any feedback is highly appreciated, and if you have any questions about them, feel free to ask!
I love Ezra so much! The artwork is gorgeous and I really do love that you have included sound clips too, especially since music is so important to the character. Excellent work Satrium and I can't wait to read and hear more about Ezra and their journey! <3
Thanks for your kind comment! I will eventually add Ezra's own theme to this article, but I first have to finish it and that might take a while. I'm also really excited to see where Ezra's journey will go. I will probably write an update at some point.
Brianna Siobhan Healey
I am loving this character and their struggle. I would love to see more of them maybe in a story all their own. The music you have added is amazing. I can't wait to hear more of your music whether in other articles or even in this one. Do NOT ever lose that creative spark.
You will get to see more about them at some point. Not sure yet in which form, but I definitely will write more about them. Also, there will be more music eventually, and I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I am currently working on Ezra's own theme, and once it is done, I will add that to the article as well.
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
This is really a great article :D I love Ezra and all of his different personnas :D I know you've said it's already too long, but I think I would like at the beginning an explanation of the danger changelings face and why it's so important for them to stay hidden. Even if you write a full article on changelings, I think this is an important background for Ezra character and would really help highlight the danger they face - maybe even show the example of what happened to the last one who got caught.
Thanks! As always after one of your comments, I now need to think about how to fit that into the article, because it's an amazing idea, and definitely should be there.
Great article! Watched it on stream and love all the music and images you added. Well thought out stuff and nice quotes. Was very nice to learn about changelings here. Great job!
Thanks! Glad you liked it :D
Love all the detail in this article! Especially the stuff about the eye colour, it shows so much about them ^^ I was wondering how you play into changelings during games? Like does the party know or do they try to keep it hidden? I've played a changeling for a little while some time ago, but I felt like I couldn't really get into the character much as revealing being a changeling while hunting down doppelgangers was definitely a bad idea ^^
Thank you! Ezra has been living in my brain rent free for over half a year now. About playing them: Originally the group just knew Ezra as Orba. So for them I played a Gnoll Bard. But eventually the story came to a point where Ezra thought, they have to reveal their nature to the party in order to not risk loosing their trust. So they did (that happened like 5-6 session in). Ezra is still very secretive about their past, and their true (natural) form, but yes the party knows that they are a changeling and have seen them change between Orba, Nic and Jess (and one or two random people for infiltration reasons). Outside of the group, only two other characters know. A friendly NPC and Ezra's parent. And for the time being they want to keep it that way. They trust the group enough to not judge them for what they are, but they still fear what the rest of the world would do to them.
Ah cool, thanks for sharing! Sadly the campaign I played a changeling in stopped before I could really go in depth sadly. I might take some inspiration about how you setup the personas and such, if you don't mind for if I ever play a changeling again, it sounds like a nice system to differentiate between masks, lives and personas ^^
It's always a bummer if a campaign ends prematurely, but sometimes there is not much you can do about that. Honestly feel free to take as much inspiration from this article as you like. That's one of the main reasons I'm sharing my stuff. I've been thinking a lot about Ezra, so it's amazing if it inspires other people as well.
Wow! I love the idea of collecting past personas, and this is just awesome!
Thank you! Glad you like it :D
What a great Article! The music clips really add to the complexity that is this amazingly well thought out character and the personas feel well established and unique in their own way. I don't know that I have any real feedback other than just wanting to know more about if there is any real substance to this fear they were given as a child about being found out, and how that's changed if at all now that they have trusted a group that accepts them for who they are. <3
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it! I honestly do not know how much substance this fear has. Ezra was one of my DnD characters, so I do not know all of the worldbuilding around them, but I think it's way less severe than they believe it to be and over time that's something they realize. Sadly we had to cancel the campaign I was playing Ezra in, so I can only talk about what I believe would have happened. Before meeting the Thundercats, the only person knowing about Ezra being a changeling was their parent, nobody else. So they have been way more open on that front. They also realized while traveling with the group, that they do not want to go from life to life, always leaving everything behind. They slowly realized they wanted to have social connections not only as one of their Personas, but as Ezra. And that's basically where their story sadly had to end. I do believe that at some point they would have revealed their true form to the group, and started being way more open about being a changeling. They probably would not have ran around in their true form, they would still use personas, but they would probably switch between them way more regularily and reveal their nature to other close friends. Maybe at some point they might have even revealed their nature publicly. Using their influence and publicity to show that changelings are not bad, that at least some of them try to do good. But that is such a gigantic step, it would have really depended on where the story would have gone.