Lying is most definately the hardest part of playing a Pooka properly. It can be argued that Pooka are in fact the most difficult kith to play correctly because of their Frailty. Innumerous players have problems with it, and some don't even bother.
But playing out Pooka Lies well and consistantly is the mark of a good roleplayer. Sluagh cannot just stop whispering, and Trolls cannot break an oath without paying the price. So it goes that Pooka cannot just ignore their Frailty. To help Pooka players everywhere, here is a simply guide to lying.
Why Pooka Lie
The purpose of Lies is to confuse the truth and make the listener question just what is true and what is false. In so doing, the listener learns to not take what is said for granted, but rather to find the truth in his own way. By rethinking what is true, the listener also rethinks what is real and through this they become more open-minded, and thus, less Banal.
So basically, Lies is a unique way in which the Pooka fight Banality.
At least, that's the idea. It doesn't always work that way, sadly enough. The majority of people, both mundane and fae, become too frustrated trying to decipher this "Pooka-ese" and simply don't bother. This is especially true of impatient fae like Satyrs and Redcaps, and ones who don't tolerate 'dishonorable conduct' like Trolls and Sidhe. Instead, they just don't believe anything Pooka say and leave it at that. The Pooka regularly get disappointed by this, but it's not like they can clearly explain why they do this to the other kith. The Dreaming enforces this frailty on them. It's like being a habitual liar. An extremely habitual liar.
On occasion, however, an enlightened enough fae will 'get it.' Perhaps they finally bothered to think about why Pooka lie, and reached some conclusion that is close to the real truth. Pooka are always delighted when they find someone that gets it.
The Laws of Lying
First, the game terms. A Pooka character is required to mix a lie into every statement he or she makes. It is habitual and the Pooka cannot blithely ignore this. Only through intense concentration and careful speaking can he or she force the complete truth past their lips. By rolling their Willpower score at a difficulty of 8, a Pooka can speak the whole, unadulterated truth for five minutes per success. Alternatively, a Willpower point can be spent to get just five minutes of truth.
Now, the actual lying itself. Just what constitutes a Pooka lie? Well, as stated above, any and all statements must contain a lie. They need not be all false, but rather just a part of the statement can be a lie. One minor change can make the whole statement untrue.
Example: The statement is "Duke Wilson is riding his horse to Abernathy Castle today." The Pooka need only change part of this to a lie, such as...
"Duke Wilson is driving his car to Abernathy Castle today."
"Duke Wilson is riding his horse to Fortress Stalwart today."
"Duke Wilson is riding his horse to Abernathy Castle tomorrow."
Those are merely examples showing a minor change that changes the statement as a whole. Not that in each case most of the statement is still true, only one fact is a lie in each. And yet that small falsehood alters the entire statement.
Exaggeration and Downplaying
Exaggerating is an easy way to lie. So is 'downplaying' a statement (making it less important that it is. Basically the opposite of exaggeration). Simply magnify or reduce some factor of the statement. If there is a number involved, simply raise or lower it. If if a Count is involved, make him a Duke or Baron. If the Troll was 8 feet high, make him 9 or 7.
The key to making thes elies convincing is to not exaggerate or downplay too much. If it is too obvious, no one will believe it. But change the factors just slightly, and it is easy to swallow. A 9 foot Troll is believable. A 15 foot Troll is not. The point is to blur the truth, not blow it out of the water.
Changing the Subject
Sometimes the best way to avoid telling the truth of a subject is to not speak on the subject at hand at all. Other subjects are soooo much more interesting, aren't they? Pooka are masters of leading a discussion off-course. Irrelevant tangents are their playground. Pick on some minor detail of the conversation and run with it.
Troll: "Pooka, I'm looking for Lord Boojum. He wasn't in the Hanging Gardens. Where is he?"
Pooka: "Oh, my. Let's see....you know, the Gardens are so lovely. Are you sure he's not there?"
Troll: "Yes, I said I already checked...."
Pooka: "But what about behind the Sideways Ferns? Oh, don't you love those? They're so...sideways-y! I like the Gabblethorn Trees, too...."
Troll: "Er, yes, they're nice and all, but..."
Pooka: "I heard Lord Boojum loves the fruit of the Gabblethorn Tree. He could eat a million of them he said. You should really go check again."
Troll: "I....I guess. He might be behind the Sideways Ferns eating Gabblethorn fruit. Wouldn't hurt to check again, I suppose."
Another way to answer questions is to give an answer that does not answer anything. Answers that are vague work wonderfully for confusing the truth. Never say yes or no. Don't be specific.
"I don't know"
"It's like, you know, whatchamacallit..."
"Yadda, yadda, yadda"
The Silent Treatment
Sometimes, the easiest way to avoid telling the truth is to not speak at all. Pooka tend to watch more than talk, anyway. Taciturn often describes Pooka. Many animals watch and listen more than they growl, mew, howl or chirp, all the better to avoid predators. For animals, survival is often about going unnoticed. This tendency bleeds over into the Pooka, as well.
It's not like the other fae ask Pooka things a lot. The other kiths know better than to ask Pooka serious questions, so Pooka tend to be off the hook quite a bit. But when they are asked something, a simple shrug of the shoulders can suffice. Pretending she never heard the question in the first place is also a popular tactic for many Pooka. That in itself is a sort of lie.
Answering a Question with a Question
Also a favorite tactic, it is also a rather easy one. No answers are needed. Just ask a question in response. Sure, it will provoke more questions, to which you answer with more questions. Within moments, the other party is either too frustrated to continue or has been lead off the topic far enough that he's forgotten what he was asking about in the first place. But be careful, frustration can often lead to violence in some fae, particularly Redcaps, Trolls and Satyrs, who rarely have much patience for Pooka in the first place. Sidhe are known to toss Pooka in the dungeon for a day when they grow frustrated with the question game.
Nobody said being a Pooka was easy.
Stroking the Ego
Nothing distracts a person more than being complimented. Sucking-up can be an effective way to avoid speaking the truth. As it is also easy to lie when complimenting someone, this yet another popular dialect of Pooka-ese. Most people are readily willing to beileve a compliment, even one that is not completely true. This tactic is also a reason why Pooka are generally seen as likable. Everyone likes those who like themselves.
Pooka are privvy to many secrets. Thanks to their Confidant ability, the other kiths regularly tell Pooka things they'd tell no one else. Being as watchful as they are, Pooka pick up on things most others would miss. While blabbing secrets is not some Pooka do, using that information to their advantage is a great way to get out of speaking the truth. A mere hint here or there is often enough to distract the listener from the subject at hand.
Only Unseelie Pooka would regularly threaten to expose such secrets. For the Seelie, it is more of a last resort. Blackmail is a tricky game, one that can be turned back on its user far too easily. It is a tactic better left for Sluagh and Sidhe.
When the Questions Stop....
Despite all of this, not everything a Pooka says is in response to a question. Just like anyone else, Pooka often must simply talk. They have important things to say, too, even when nobody has asked. How to avoid telling the truth when no one is expecting a specific statement?
One way is to be as long-winded about it as possible. Pooka may not talk much, but when they do, they can really go the distance. Pooka with affinities for talkative animals are especially noted to be motormouths. Examples are parrots, mockingbirds and ravens ("Hey! Who you calling a motormouth? Why I never! Do I ever just talk and talk and talk without shutting up? Is that the impression of me you have? Hmmm? I'll tell you right now, buddy, that I..." - Kylie, cut short before she rambled on too long)
Learning to talk a lot without actually saying anything can be a virtue for Pooka. Filling your speech with a lot of nonsense and redundant statements is one way to go. Another, similar way is to tell a long story that goes everywhere but to the subject at hand, except to hint at that subject.
"And, so, me and Fitz, we went to the hardware store to get that hammer to fix the lightbulb. I think Fitz wanted to stop at Aliandra's house on the way, but we were in a hurry and couldn't as I remember it. Anyway, we got to the hardware store...and it was closed! Can you believe that? Oh, the luck! So, we sat on the curb and thought about what to do next..."
The point of that story was simply to say that no, the Pooka speaking had not seen Aliandra that day. But he said so in a roundabout way, wrapping the truth in a long, extravagant lie about a trip to buy a hammer to fix a lightbulb, which itself makes no sense (and probably never actually happened)...
Weird Languages and Dialects
A creative and fun Lying tactic is to speak in an odd manner, odd enough that it is not easily understood. Speaking in an unusual dialect or even making up a pseudo-language works wonders at confusing what you truly mean.
How about speaking backwards? ?it doesn't, think others makes certainly It
One example of an odd dialect is Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars. Yes, curse his name all you want, but think about how he talks. Jar Jar was not easily undestood. You often had to watch a scene a couple times to figure out what he was saying. Using made-up and altered words like "mesa" and "bombad" can be fun and effective as Pooka Lies. While you shouldn't just copy Jar Jar's dialect, make up your own and get those creative juices flowing.
There is one Pooka, rather famous in several online Changeling game, that speaks in Pig Latin all the time. Itay ancay ebay unfay. That is one way to get other fae to stop and think about what it is you're saying.
Making up your own "Pooka-ese" language can be simple or highly involed, depending on how much work you want to put into it. For a simple approach, take common words and change them in some manner. Make a list of these words and keep it handy when you play, throwing the words in when appropriate. The sillier and odder the words, the better. It all leads to more confusion. But be warned, after a while, your fellow faeries may get the hang on your speech. To prevent this, change the words every so often. Or better yet, have a selection of several new words for a normal word, and alternate between them often. The word "go" may be "gooby" in one sentence and "gayoo" in the next, and some else entirely in the next. Keep your listeners on thier toes.
Questions and Orders
There are two types of speech into which Pooka need not insert lies. Questions and orders may be spoken clearly if the Pooka so wishes. He may still screw up such phrases if wants, but the Dreaming does not enforce the Pooka Frailty on them.
Questions are requests for information or other things. There is no such thing as a true or false question. A question is not a statement of fact, and therefore cannot be true or false. It can only be a question.
'Orders' include things like saying "Look out!" or "Give me that book." As long as the order or command is short and simple, the Pooka does not need to falsify it. However, if the command become long and involved (i.e., "Go to the Royal Palace, ask Lord Mitchell for the Spoon of Farfignugen and take it to Lady Sarah, who you will find at the Weeping Springs west of town. Get there by 7:00 and be sure to wear your green sweater.") then lies must creep in.
Perhaps the only statement of fact a pooka can make uninhibited by lies is an Oath. Fae Oaths are serious business, so serious that the Dreaming itself bind the fae to that promise. Because of this, the Dreaming lifts the pooka frailty for the purposes of making Oaths. A pooka can take an Oath truthfully, and mean it.
What Lying is Not
So, just what doesn't count as lying? How do you know when what your pooka says just doesn't work?
Opposites: A common tactic among pooka players is the tendancy to simply say the opposite of what they mean. "Yes" becomes "no", "I love you" becomes "I hate you" and so forth. While this seems like an easy way to lie, it is, unfortunately, ineffective. Pooka Lies are about clouding the truth and making others think about what is said to find the truth. Simply saying the opposite doesn't work because it is far too easy to 'decipher.' Once a fae knows all you do is speak in opposites, then they can easily understand you, and no truth is clouded anymore. Pooka Lies shouldn't be easy to understand. Not impossible, but not easy either.
Pooka Lies is the most difficulty fae frailty to role-play. But it can also be the most rewarding. Don't just ignore it, for you are doing the pooka and yourself a great disservice. You don't need to be perfect all the time, but at least try to lie well most of the time.